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Exp Ther Med. 2016 Jul;12(1):81-86. Epub 2016 Apr 27.

Increased multi-drug resistance and reduced apoptosis in osteosarcoma side population cells are crucial factors for tumor recurrence.

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Department of Orthopaedics, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130033, P.R. China.
Department of Orthopaedics, Daqing Oilfields General Hospital, Daqing, Heilongjiang 163000, P.R. China.


The present study investigated the characteristic features of cancer stem cells (CSCs) using an aggressive human osteosarcoma cell line OS-65. Hoechst 33342 dye exclusion was used to distinguish the cancer stem-like side population (SP) cells from OS-65 cells. Furthermore, the SP cells were characterized via chemoresistance and cell death assays, reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence. The present study identified ~3.3% of cancer stem-like SP cells from OS-65 cells whose prevalence is reduced significantly (0.9%) following treatment with verapamil. It was demonstrated that osteosarcoma SP cells are highly efficient at generating additional sarcospheres as transcriptional regulation of stemness genes, including SOX2, OCT-4 and NANOG, is highly upregulated. Notably, these SP cells demonstrated high resistance against chemotherapeutic drugs and apoptosis via elevated transcriptional regulation of several ATPase binding cassette (ABC) transporter and anti-apoptotic proteins, including ABCG2, ABCB1/MDR1 ABCB5, B cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) and Bcl-2 associated X protein, respectively. The results of the present study suggested that CSCs may be a novel therapeutic target for the prevention of tumor relapse.


ATPase binding cassette transporters; anticancer drugs; drug resistance; metastasis; sarcospheres; side population cells

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