A human colon cancer cell capable of initiating tumour growth in immunodeficient mice.

Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1L7, Canada.
Nature (Impact Factor: 42.35). 02/2007; 445(7123):106-10. DOI: 10.1038/nature05372
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Colon cancer is one of the best-understood neoplasms from a genetic perspective, yet it remains the second most common cause of cancer-related death, indicating that some of its cancer cells are not eradicated by current therapies. What has yet to be established is whether every colon cancer cell possesses the potential to initiate and sustain tumour growth, or whether the tumour is hierarchically organized so that only a subset of cells--cancer stem cells--possess such potential. Here we use renal capsule transplantation in immunodeficient NOD/SCID mice to identify a human colon cancer-initiating cell (CC-IC). Purification experiments established that all CC-ICs were CD133+; the CD133- cells that comprised the majority of the tumour were unable to initiate tumour growth. We calculated by limiting dilution analysis that there was one CC-IC in 5.7 x 10(4) unfractionated tumour cells, whereas there was one CC-IC in 262 CD133+ cells, representing >200-fold enrichment. CC-ICs within the CD133+ population were able to maintain themselves as well as differentiate and re-establish tumour heterogeneity upon serial transplantation. The identification of colon cancer stem cells that are distinct from the bulk tumour cells provides strong support for the hierarchical organization of human colon cancer, and their existence suggests that for therapeutic strategies to be effective, they must target the cancer stem cells.

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Inhibition of breast cancer stem cells has been shown to be an effective therapeutic strategy for cancer prevention. The aims of this work were to evaluate the efficacy of koenimbin, isolated from Murraya koenigii (L) Spreng, in the inhibition of MCF7 breast cancer cells and to target MCF7 breast cancer stem cells through apoptosis in vitro. Methods: Koenimbin-induced cell viability was evaluated using the MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol- 2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay. Nuclear condensation, cell permeability, mitochon- drial membrane potential, and cytochrome c release were observed using high-content screening. Cell cycle arrest was examined using flow cytometry, while human apoptosis proteome profiler assays were used to investigate the mechanism of apoptosis. Protein expression levels of Bax, Bcl2, and heat shock protein 70 were confirmed using Western blotting. Caspase-7, caspase-8, and caspase-9 levels were measured, and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activity was assessed using a high-content screening assay. Aldefluor™ and mammosphere formation assays were used to evaluate the effect of koenimbin on MCF7 breast cancer stem cells in vitro. The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway was investigated using Western blotting. Results: Koenimbin-induced apoptosis in MCF7 cells was mediated by cell death-transducing signals regulating the mitochondrial membrane potential by downregulating Bcl2 and upregulating Bax, due to cytochrome c release from the mitochondria to the cytosol. Koenimbin induced significant (P0.05) sub-G0 phase arrest in breast cancer cells. Cytochrome c release triggered caspase-9 activa- tion, which then activated caspase-7, leading to apoptotic changes. This form of apoptosis is closely associated with the intrinsic pathway and inhibition of NF-κB translocation from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Koenimbin significantly (P0.05) decreased the aldehyde dehydrogenase-positive cell population in MCF7 cancer stem cells and significantly (P0.01) decreased the size and number of MCF7 cancer stem cells in primary, secondary, and tertiary mammospheres in vitro. Koenimbin also significantly (P0.05) downregulated the Wnt/β-catenin self-renewal pathway. Conclusion: Koenimbin has potential for future chemoprevention studies, and may lead to the discovery of further cancer management strategies by reducing cancer resistance and recurrence and improving patient survival.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent molecular classifications of colorectal cancer (CRC) based on global gene expression profiles have defined subtypes displaying resistance to therapy and poor prognosis. Upon evaluation of these classification systems, we discovered that their predictive power arises from genes expressed by stromal cells rather than epithelial tumor cells. Bioinformatic and immunohistochemical analyses identify stromal markers that associate robustly with disease relapse across the various classifications. Functional studies indicate that cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) increase the frequency of tumor-initiating cells, an effect that is dramatically enhanced by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling. Likewise, we find that all poor-prognosis CRC subtypes share a gene program induced by TGF-β in tumor stromal cells. Using patient-derived tumor organoids and xenografts, we show that the use of TGF-β signaling inhibitors to block the cross-talk between cancer cells and the microenvironment halts disease progression.
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