Gene Summary

Gene:SPECC1; sperm antigen with calponin homology and coiled-coil domains 1
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene belongs to the cytospin-A family. It is localized in the nucleus, and highly expressed in testis and some cancer cell lines. A chromosomal translocation involving this gene and platelet-derived growth factor receptor, beta gene (PDGFRB) may be a cause of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been described for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2011]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: SPECC1 (cancer-related)

Barbosa TC, Lopes BA, Blunck CB, et al.
A novel PAX5 rearrangement in TCF3-PBX1 acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a case report.
BMC Med Genomics. 2018; 11(1):122 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chromosome translocations are a hallmark of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL). Additional genomic aberrations are also crucial in both BCP-ALL leukemogenesis and treatment management. Herein, we report the phenotypic and molecular cytogenetic characterization of an extremely rare case of BCP-ALL harboring two concomitant leukemia-associated chromosome translocations: t(1;19)(q23;q13.3) and t(9;17)(p13;q11.2). Of note, we described a new rearrangement between exon 6 of PAX5 and a 17q11.2 region, where intron 3 of SPECC1 is located. This rearrangement seems to disrupt PAX5 similarly to a PAX5 deletion. Furthermore, a distinct karyotype between diagnosis and relapse samples was observed, disclosing a complex clonal evolution during leukemia progression.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 16-year-old boy was admitted febrile with abdominal and joint pain. At clinical investigation, he presented with anemia, splenomegaly, low white blood cell count and 92% lymphoblast. He was diagnosed with pre-B ALL and treated according to high risk GBTLI-ALL2009. Twelve months after complete remission, he developed a relapse in consequence of a high central nervous system and bone marrow infiltration, and unfortunately died.
CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first report of a rearrangement between PAX5 and SPECC1. The presence of TCF3-PBX1 and PAX5-rearrangement at diagnosis and relapse indicates that both might have participated in the malignant transformation disease maintenance and dismal outcome.

Reimer D, Boesch M, Wolf D, et al.
Truncated isoform Vav3.1 is highly expressed in ovarian cancer stem cells and clinically relevant in predicting prognosis and platinum-response.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 142(8):1640-1651 [PubMed] Related Publications
Vav3 is a key modulator of GTP-hydrolases of the Rho/Rac family, which are crucially involved in cell proliferation. Vav3 is alternatively spliced in full-length Vav3-alpha and N-terminal truncated Vav3.1 lacking its self-regulatory domains. The aim of our study was to estimate the clinical impact of Vav3 and all other Vav family members in ovarian cancer. Purification of a stem-cell like side-population (SP) from ovarian cancer cell lines was performed by flow cytometry/FACS. Differences in gene expression between SP and NSP were assessed by Gene Array analysis and confirmed by RT-PCR and immunoblot. In addition, Vav mRNA expression was determined in 150 epithelial ovarian cancers. Clinicopathological parameters, platinum-sensitivity and survival were analyzed and associated with Vav expression. SP fractions of ovarian cancer cell lines exhibited marked overexpression of Vav3.1 (p < 0.001). Vav1 and Vav2 did not prove to be of clinicopathologic relevance in ovarian cancer. High Vav3.1 expression correlated with higher FIGO stage and residual disease. Furthermore, Vav3.1 overexpression was associated with poor progression-free (HR = 2.820, p = 0.0001) and overall survival (HR = 2.842, p = 0.0001). Subgroup analyses revealed an impact of Vav3.1 on survival in Type-II but not in Type-I cancers. Notably, platinum-refractory cancers showed marked overexpression of Vav3.1 compared to other subsets of platinum-sensitivity (15.848 vs. 6.653, p = 0.0001). In conclusion, Vav3.1 is over-expressed in stem-cell like SP fractions and is clinically relevant in the pathophysiology of ovarian cancer. The N-terminal truncated Vav3.1 may be decisively involved in mechanisms causing genuine multi-drug resistance.

Hu J, Li J, Yue X, et al.
Targeting BCRP/ABCG2 by RNA interference enhances the chemotherapy sensitivity of human colon cancer side population cells.
J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2017; 37(2):231-236 [PubMed] Related Publications
Relapse and metastasis are frequent in colon cancer and may be linked to stem cell characteristics. This study isolated side population (SP) cells from a colon cancer cell line (Colo-320) and examined their self-renewal and differentiation abilities. Compared to non-SP (NSP) cells, SP colon cancer cells were more tumorigenic in vivo and exhibited more invasive characteristics and a greater ability to form colonies. Additionally, more cells were in G

Xia H, Cao J, Li Q, et al.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma-propagating Cells are Detectable by Side Population Analysis and Possess an Expression Profile Reflective of a Primitive Origin.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:34856 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The recent identification of "Side Population" (SP) cells in a number of unrelated human cancers has renewed interests in the hypothesis of cancer stem cells. Here we isolated SP cells from HepG2 cells and 18 of the 21 fresh hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue samples. These SP cells have higher abilities of forming spheroids, invasion and migration. Tumors could generate only from SP, not non-SP (NSP), cells in a low dose of subcutaneous injection to the NOD/SCID mice (5 × 10

Matchuk ON, Zamulaeva IA
High Level of Radiation-Induced Heat Shock Protein with a Molecular Weight of 27 and 70 kDa is the Hallmark of Radioresistant SP Cells of MCF-7 Breast Cancer Culture.
Radiats Biol Radioecol. 2016; 56(4):382-388 [PubMed] Related Publications
As previously indicated, side population cells (side population, SP) of breast cancer line MCF-7 have greater resistance to the action of low-LET radiation compared to other tumor cells (non SP, NSP). One can assume that one possible reason for the high radioresistance of this fraction of tumor cells is the increased expression of different heat shock proteins (HSP) before and/or after radiation exposure. To verify this hypothesis, we investigated the expression of HSP27 and HSP70 in these populations of cells-before and after irradiation at a dose of 5.0 Gy. The study was performed using scanning microscopy for NSP and SP cells after sorting and immunocytochemical staining. A substantial increase of HSP27 and HSP70 in SP cells was found after irra- diation as'compared with the control. In NSP cells the HSP27 level increased in response to radiation exposure, but to a lesser extent than in SP cells, while the content of HSP70 did not change after irradiation. The results confirm the assumption about HSP27 and HSP70 participation in the formation of SP cell radioresistance by the example of MCF-7 line.

Gao G, Sun Z, Wenyong L, et al.
A preliminary study of side population cells in human gastric cancer cell line HGC-27.
Ann Transplant. 2015; 20:147-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer stem cell-like side population (SP) cells, which may be responsible for recurrence, tumor metastasis, and resistance to cancer therapy, have been identified and characterized in several types of cell lines from gastric cancer. However, there is no report on isolation of SP cells from human gastric cancer cell line HGC-27. This study aims to analyze the proportion of SP cells in HGC-27 cell line, differentiate SP from non-side population (NSP) cells, and determine whether the SP cells have certain biological properties of stem cells.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: (1) HGC-27 suspension was prepared and stained with Hoechst33342 and PI for flow cytometric isolation of SP (2). Differences in proliferation and stemness-related gene expression profiles (CD133, CD44, OCT-4, MDR1, EpCAM, and ABCG2) between SP and NSP cells were detected by gastric formation assay and quantitative real-time PCR (3). Oncogenicity of SP and NSP cells was determined in nude mice in vivo.
RESULTS: (1) SP cells accounted for 0.1-1.0% of HGC-27 cells, and decreased to 0% after verapamil inhibition. Using flow cytometry, we sorted 7.5×10⁵ SP cells and most HGC-27 cells were NSP cells (2). Gastric formation assay and MTT demonstrated that there was a significant difference in proliferation between SP and NSP cells. Gene expression analysis showed that the expression of genes was significantly higher in SP cells (3). The oncogenicity experiment in nude mice revealed that 105 SP cells were able to form tumors, which demonstrated higher tumorigenicity than non-SP cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These results collectively suggested that SP cells from HGC-27 cell line have some cancer stem cell properties and could be used for studying the pathogenesis of gastric cancer, which may contribute to discovery of novel therapeutic targets.

Zhao Y, Zhao L, Ischenko I, et al.
Antisense inhibition of microRNA-21 and microRNA-221 in tumor-initiating stem-like cells modulates tumorigenesis, metastasis, and chemotherapy resistance in pancreatic cancer.
Target Oncol. 2015; 10(4):535-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our preliminary studies identified a small population side population (SP) cells in pancreatic cancer cells with stem cell-like properties, which were able to induce fast and aggressive tumor formation in nude mice. Gene expression analysis showed a significant difference in the expression of more than 1,300 genes in SP cells, among which a highly significant difference in microRNA expression of miR-21 and miR-221 between SP and NSP cells was identified. SP cells were identified and characterized by flow cytometry using Hoechst 33342 dye staining from a highly metastatic human pancreatic cancer cell line (L3.6pl). Antagomir transfection was performed using miRNA-21 and miRNA-221 antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and followed by detection of cell apoptosis, cell cycle progression, chemosensitivity, and invasion. Sorted SP cells from gemcitabine-resistant L3.6pl cells (L3.6pl(Gres)-SP) cells were orthotopically implanted in nude mice with or without miRNA-21 and miRNA-221 ASOs mono- and combination therapy. The administration of antagomir-21 and antagomir-221 significantly reduced the SP cell fraction, decreased SP cell differentiation, and downstream gene regulation, and thereby induced reduction of L3.6pl cell proliferation, invasion, and chemoresistance against gemcitabine and 5-Fluorouracil. Combination of ASOs therapy against miRNA-21 and miRNA-221 significantly inhibited primary tumor growth and metastasis compared to single antagomir treatment, especially, in L3.6plGres-SP-induced pancreatic tumor growth in vivo. These findings further indicate that the inhibition of miR-21 and miR-221 appear particularly suitable to target stem-like subpopulations and address their specific biological function to promote tumor progression in pancreatic cancer.

Zheng D, Liao S, Zhu G, et al.
CD38 is a putative functional marker for side population cells in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines.
Mol Carcinog. 2016; 55(3):300-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are thought to be responsible for cancer progression and therapeutic resistance but identification of this subpopulation requires selective markers. Fortunately, side population (SP) cells analysis brings a novel method to CSCs study. In this study, we identified SP cells, which are demonstrated rich in CSCs, in four nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cell lines. We investigated SP cells from HK-1 NPC cell line and showed CSCs characteristics in this subpopulation. SP cells displayed greater proliferation and invasion and expressed high levels of CSCs markers than NSP cells. Furthermore, our microRNA microarray analysis of SP versus NSP cells revealed that CD38-related miRNAs were down-regulated in SP cell, but the mRNA and protein level of CD38 were highly expressed in SP cells. We further searched for molecules interacting with CD38 and identified ZAP70, which was also well expressed in SP cells at both mRNA and protein levels. Our results uncover a CD38 pathway that may regulate the proliferation and migration of SP cells from HK-1 NPC cell line.

Xiong B, Ma L, Hu X, et al.
Characterization of side population cells isolated from the colon cancer cell line SW480.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(3):1175-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Side population (SP) cells may play a crucial role in tumorigenesis and the recurrence of cancer. Many types of cell lines and tissues have demonstrated the presence of SP cells, including colon cancer cell lines. This study aimed to identify cancer stem cells (CSCs) in the SP of the colon cancer cell line SW480. SP cells were isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), followed by serum-free medium (SFM) culture. The self-renewal, differentiated progeny, clone formation, proliferation, invasion ability, cell cycle, chemosensitivity and tumorigenic properties in SP and non-SP (NSP) cells were investigated through in vitro culture and in vivo serial transplantation. The expression profiles of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) protein transporters and stem cell-related genes were examined by RT-PCR and western blot analysis. The human colon cancer cell lines SW480, Lovo and HCT116 contain 1.1 ± 0.10, 0.93 ± 0.11 and 1.33 ± 0.05% SP cells, respectively. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that SP cells could differentiate into SP and NSP cells. SP cells had a higher proliferation potency and CFE than NSP cells. Compared to NSP cells, SP cells were also more resistant to CDDP and 5-FU, and were more invasive and displayed increased tumorigenic ability. Moreover, SP cells showed higher mRNA and protein expression of ABCG2, MDR1, OCT-4, NANOG, SOX-2, CD44 and CD133. SP cells isolated from human colon cancer cell lines harbor CSC properties that may be related to the invasive potential and therapeutic resistance of colon cancer.

Yusuf N, Inagaki T, Kusunoki S, et al.
SPARC was overexpressed in human endometrial cancer stem-like cells and promoted migration activity.
Gynecol Oncol. 2014; 134(2):356-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: We previously demonstrated that side-population (SP) cells found in human endometrial cancer tissue have features of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Endometrial cancer SP cells show enhanced migration, the potential to differentiate into the mesenchymal cell lineage, and they are associated with the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). In this study, we analyzed the expression and function of a specific protein, SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine) which we found to be up-regulated in endometrial cancer.
METHODS: We performed microarray expression analysis to screen for up-regulated genes in CSCs using a set of RK12V-SP cells and -non-SP (NSP) cells. We used the MetaCore package to identify the Gene GO pathway MAPs associated with the up-regulated genes. Here, we investigated the expression and functions of SPARC, one of the genes up-regulated in endometrial CSCs. We established SPARC-overexpressing cells by transfecting endometrial cancer cells (Ishikawa cells [IK-SPARC cells]). We characterized these cells' growth rate, tumorigenicity, migration and invasion activity. The levels and locations of SPARC protein expression in Hec1SP cells-derived tumors and endometrial cancer tissues were examined by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: SPARC was detected by microarray expression analysis during screens for up-regulated genes in SP and NSP CSC. The level of SPARC expression was enhanced in Hec1 SP cells compared with that in Hec1 non-SP cells. SPARC enhanced fibronectin expression and promoted migration activity in IK cells. SPARC expression suppressed tumor growth but promoted formation of tumor stroma. SPARC was expressed in endometrial cancer tissues, in particular, poorly differentiated endometrioid adenocarcinoma, clear and serous adenocarcinoma,but not in normal endometrial tissue.
CONCLUSION: This is the first report of overexpression of SPARC in endometrial cancer stem-like cells. SPARC expression is associated with cell migration and stroma formation.

Nakayama M, Ogasawara S, Akiba J, et al.
Side population cell fractions from hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines increased with tumor dedifferentiation, but lack characteristic features of cancer stem cells.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014; 29(5):1092-101 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a minority population with stem cell-like characteristics, play important roles in cancer development and progression. Putative CSC markers, such as CD13, CD90, CD133, and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), and side population (SP) technique are generally used in an attempt to isolate CSCs. We aimed to clarify the relationship between CSCs and clonal dedifferentiation in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: We used a well-differentiated HCC cell line (HAK-1A) and a poorly differentiated HCC cell line (HAK-1B) established from a single nodule with histological heterogeneity. HAK-1B arose because of clonal dedifferentiation of HAK-1A. The SP cells and non-SP (NSP) cells were isolated from the two cell lines with a FACSAria II and used for the analyses.
RESULTS: The SP cell fractions in HAK-1A and HAK-1B were 0.2% and 0.9%, respectively. CD90 or EpCAM was not expressed in either HAK-1A or HAK-1B, while CD13 and CD133 were expressed in HAK-1B alone. Although sphere forming ability, tumorigenicity, growth rate, and CD13 expression were higher in HAK-1B SP cells than HAK-1B NSP cells, there were no differences in drug resistance, colony forming ability, or cell cycle rates between HAK-1B SP and NSP cells, suggesting HAK-1B SP cells do not fulfill CSC criteria.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggested a possible relationship between the expression of CSC markers and clonal dedifferentiation. However, the complete features of CSC could not be identified in SP cells, and the concept of SP cells as a universal marker for CSC may not apply to HAK-1A and HAK-1B.

Yu X, Jiang X, Li H, et al.
miR-203 inhibits the proliferation and self-renewal of esophageal cancer stem-like cells by suppressing stem renewal factor Bmi-1.
Stem Cells Dev. 2014; 23(6):576-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem-like cells exist in many malignancies and several stem cell-related genes and microRNAs, such as Bmi-1 and miR-203, have been identified as cancer stem-like cell regulators using gene microarray or sequencing analysis. Previously, we used side population (SP) sorting to enrich cancer stem-like cells from esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cell line EC9706. Our results demonstrated that EC9706 SP cells shared common features of cancer stem-like cells. In this study, we examined the expression of Bmi-1 and miR-203 in ESCC SP and non-SP (NSP) cells. Our results showed that, when compared with NSP cells, Bmi-1 was up-regulated and miR-203 was down-regulated in SP cells. During the differentiation from SP to NSP cells, the expression levels of Bmi-1 were gradually decreased. Overexpression of miR-203 resulted in a significant reduction of endogenous Bmi-1 protein level in EC9706 cells. SP and NSP analyses revealed that the SP cell fraction was markedly decreased in miR-203 overexpressed cells. miR-203 overexpressed cells also showed a significant reduction in colony formation, which was resistant to chemotherapeutic drug treatment and tumorigenicity in nude mice. Rescue experiments demonstrated that ectopic expression of Bmi-1 in miR-203 overexpressed cells increased the SP fraction and restored cell proliferation. Taken together, these results indicated that stem renewal factor Bmi-1 was a direct target of miR-203. The regulation of Bmi-1 by miR-203 may play an important role in controlling cell proliferation and self-renewal of esophageal cancer stem-like cells. It may also promote the development of new therapeutic strategies and efficient drugs that target ESCC stem-like cells.

Ueda K, Ogasawara S, Akiba J, et al.
Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 identifies cells with cancer stem cell-like properties in a human renal cell carcinoma cell line.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(10):e75463 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer stem cells (CSC) or cancer stem cell-like cells (CSC-LCs) have been identified in many malignant tumors. CSCs are proposed to be related with drug resistance, tumor recurrence, and metastasis and are considered as a new target for cancer treatment; however, there are only a few reports on CSCs or CSC-LCs in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Different approaches have been reported for CSC identification, but there are no universal markers for CSC. We used two different approaches, the traditional side population (SP) approach, and the enzymatic (aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1)) approach to identify CSC-LC population in two RCC cell lines, ACHN and KRC/Y. We found that ACHN and KRC/Y contain 1.4% and 1.7% SP cells, respectively. ACHN SP cells showed a higher sphere forming ability, drug resistance, and a slightly higher tumorigenic ability in NOD/SCID mice than Non-SP (NSP) cells, suggesting that cells with CSC-LC properties are included in ACHN SP cells. KRC/Y SP and NSP cells showed no difference in such properties. ALDH1 activity analysis revealed that ACHN SP cells expressed a higher level of activity than NSP cells (SP vs. NSP: 32.7% vs 14.6%). Analysis of ALDH1-positive ACHN cells revealed that they have a higher sphere forming ability, self-renewal ability, tumorigenicity and express higher mRNA levels of CSC-LC property-related genes (e.g., ABC transporter genes, self-replication genes, anti-apoptosis genes, and so forth) than ALDH1-negative cells. Drug treatment or exposure to hypoxic condition induced a 2- to 3-fold increase in number of ALDH1-positive cells. In conclusion, the results suggest that the ALDH1-positive cell population rather than SP cells show CSC-LC properties in a RCC cell line, ACHN.

Wang X, Liu Q, Hou B, et al.
Concomitant targeting of multiple key transcription factors effectively disrupts cancer stem cells enriched in side population of human pancreatic cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e73942 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A major challenge in the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the failure of chemotherapy, which is likely due to the presence of the cancer stem cells (CSCs).
OBJECTIVE: To identify side population (SP) cells and characterize s-like properties in human pancreatic cancer cell lines (h-PCCLs) and to exploit the efficacy of concomitant targeting of multiple key transcription factors governing the stemness of pancreatic CSCs in suppressing CSC-like phenotypes.
METHODS: Flow cytometry and Hoechst 33342 DNA-binding dye efflux assay were used to sort SP and non-SP (NSP) cells from three h-PCCLs: PANC-1, SW1990, and BxPc-3. The self-renewal ability, invasiveness, migration and drug resistance of SP cells were evaluated. Expression of CSC marker genes was analyzed. Tumorigenicity was assessed using a xenograft model in nude mice. Effects of a complex decoy oligonucleotide (cdODN-SCO) designed to simultaneously targeting Sox2, Oct4 and c-Myc were assessed.
RESULTS: CSCs were enriched in the side proportion (SP) cells contained in the h-PCCLs and they possessed aggressive growth, invasion, migration and drug-resistance properties, compared with NSP cells. SP cells overexpressed stem cell markers CD133 and ALDH1, pluripotency maintaining factors Nanog, Sox2 and Oct4, oncogenic transcription factor c-Myc, signaling molecule Notch1, and drug resistant gene ABCG2. Moreover, SP cells consistently demonstrated significantly greater tumorigenicity than NSP cells in xenograft model of nude mice. CdODN-SOC efficiently suppressed all CSC properties and phenotypes, and minimized the tumorigenic capability of the SP cells and the resistance to chemotherapy. By comparison, the negative control failed to do so.
CONCLUSION: The findings indicate that targeting the key genes conferring the stemness of CSCs can efficiently eliminate CSC-like phenotypes, and thus may be considered a new approach for cancer therapy. Specifically, the present study establishes the combination of Sox2/Oct4/c-Myc targeting as a potential anti-pancreatic cancer agent worthy of further studies in preclinical settings.

Zhao Y, Bao Q, Schwarz B, et al.
Stem cell-like side populations in esophageal cancer: a source of chemotherapy resistance and metastases.
Stem Cells Dev. 2014; 23(2):180-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Dye-effluxing side population (SP) cells can be resistant to chemotherapy and are thought to resemble cancer stem cells. We characterized the relevance of the SP subpopulation in esophageal cancer cell lines and their relation to chemotherapy resistance and metastasis. The SP subpopulation was detected using Hoechst 33342 staining in five esophageal cancer cell lines OE19, OE21, OE33, PT1590, and LN1590. CTx-resistant cell lines were developed after long-term exposure to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and cisplatin and validated by analysis of resistance markers, thymidylate synthase and ERCC1. While neither LN1590 nor PT1590 had detectable SP cells, OE19, OE21, and OE33 cells were found to contain varying levels of SP cells. With increasing duration of 5-FU or cisplatin therapy, the SP subpopulation substantially emerged in PT1590 and LN1590. OE19-SP cells displayed significant higher tumorigenicity than OE19- non-SP (NSP) cells after subcutaneous tumor cell injection in vivo. SP cells isolated from OE19 and OE19/5-FUres were subsequently analyzed by an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) polymerase chain reaction array. Interestingly, the SP fraction of OE19/5-FUres showed a dramatic upregulation of EMT-related genes compared to the SP fraction of OE19. Our results provide evidence that (1) the proportion of SP cells is different in esophageal cancer, (2) SP cells exhibit stem cell properties and are associated to chemotherapy resistance, and (3) long-term CTx selects for SP cells with an upregulated EMT gene profile, which might be the source of systemic disease relapse. Further investigations are necessary to ideally target these EMT-associated SP cells in esophageal cancer.

Xu Y, Xie Y, Wang X, et al.
Identification of cancer stem cells from hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines and their related microRNAs.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 30(5):2056-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to identify cancer stem cells (CSC) from three hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines and to screen for specific microRNAs (miRNAs) regulating CSCs. Side population (SP) phenotype analysis was used. Four factors in the staining process, the incubation time, shaking interval, culture time and Hoechst 33342 concentration were explored, respectively, to define the SP subtype. CSC characteristics of SP cells were verified by sphere-forming assay and tumorigenic ability in NOD/SCID mice. QPCR assay for 370 miRNAs was performed to identify the differential miRNA expression between SP and Non-SP (NSP) cells in the PLC/PRF/5 cell line. The selected miRNAs were tested again in SP and NSP cells from Huh-7 and Hep-3B cell lines by qPCR assay. All four factors influenced SP percentage, when the other three conditions were fixed, the optimal Hoechst 33342 concentrations determined were 11 µg/ml for PLC/PRF/5 cells, 4 µg/ml for Huh-7 and 5 µg/ml for Hep-3B cells. The resultant SP percentage was 0.73±0.12%, 0.49±0.04% and 0.63±0.08%, respectively. The purity of sorted SP cells was >85%. Floating spheres were formed by SP cells from all three cell lines, while NSP cells did not form a single floating sphere. Mice injected with SP cells on the right side formed more tumor masses compared to their counterpart NSP at the same injection dosage; qPCR profiling identified 27 differentially expressed miRNAs in PLC/PRF/5 cells. Subsequent qPCR assay showed that miR-9* and miR-194 were also downregulated in SP cells from Huh-7 and Hep-3B. The present study identified CSCs via SP and sphere-forming assay from three liver cancer cell lines. Altogether, 27 CSC-specific miRNAs were determined in PLC/PRF/5; miR-9* and miR-194 were identified as the common CSC-specific miRNAs across the three HCC cell lines.

Wu CP, Zhou L, Xie M, et al.
Identification of cancer stem-like side population cells in purified primary cultured human laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma epithelia.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(6):e65750 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer stem-like side population (SP) cells have been identified in many solid tumors; however, most of these investigations are performed using established cancer cell lines. Cancer cells in tumor tissue containing fibroblasts and many other types of cells are much more complex than any cancer cell line. Although SP cells were identified in the laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) cell line Hep-2 in our pilot study, it is unknown whether the LSCC tissue contains SP cells. In this study, LSCC cells (LSCCs) were primary cultured and purified from a surgically resected LSCC specimen derived from a well-differentiated epiglottic neoplasm of a Chinese male. This was followed by the verification of epithelium-specific characteristics, such as ultrastructure and biomarkers. A distinct SP subpopulation (4.45±1.07%) was isolated by Hoechst 33342 efflux analysis from cultured LSCCs by using a flow cytometer. Cancer stem cell (CSC)-associated assays, including expression of self-renewal and CSC marker genes, proliferation, differentiation, spheroid formation, chemotherapy resistance, and tumorigenicity were then conducted between SP and non-SP (NSP) LSCCs. In vitro and in vivo assays revealed that SP cells manifested preferential expression of self-renewal and CSC marker genes, higher capacity for proliferation, differentiation, and spheroid formation; enhanced resistance to chemotherapy; and greater xenograft tumorigenicity in immunodeficient mice compared with NSP cells. These findings suggest that the primary cultured and purified LSCCs contain cancer stem-like SP cells, which may serve as a valuable model for CSC research in LSCC.

Zhai JM, Yin XY, Hou X, et al.
Analysis of the genome-wide DNA methylation profile of side population cells in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Dig Dis Sci. 2013; 58(7):1934-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: DNA methylation plays an important role in maintaining pluripotency and regulating the differentiation of stem cells, but the DNA methylation profile of stem cells in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unclear.
AIMS: To investigate the genome-wide DNA methylation profile of side population (SP) cells of HCC, a special subpopulation of cells enriched with cancer stem cells, by DNA methylation microarray analysis and to analyze the functions and signal pathways of the aberrantly methylated genes in SP cells.
METHODS: Side population cells were isolated from HCC cell lines Huh7 and PLC/PRF/5 using flow cytometry, and the tumorigenicity of these SP cells was assessed in NOD/SCID mice. The genome-wide DNA methylation status of SP cells and non-SP (NSP) cells was detected and compared by DNA methylation microarray analysis. Genes with differential methylation between SP and NSP cells were further analyzed for their functions and roles in related signaling pathways.
RESULTS: Subcutaneous inoculation of 1 × 10(3) SP cells yielded tumors in 60 % NOD/SCID mice, whereas no tumor was developed after the inoculation of 1 × 10(6) NSP cells. Genome-wide DNA methylation microarray analysis showed that 72 and 181 genes were hypermethylated and hypomethylated, respectively, in both Huh7 and PLC/PRF/5 SP cells as compared with their corresponding NSP cells. Analyses of signaling pathways revealed that hypermethylated and hypomethylated genes were related to four and eight pathways, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Hepatocellular carcinoma SP cells possessed a differential DNA methylation status compared with NSP cells, and the differentially methylated genes in SP cells were involved in 12 signaling pathways. Our results provide valuable clues for further investigations in elucidating the importance of epigenetic regulation in sustaining HCC SP cells and tumorigenesis.

Kusunoki S, Kato K, Tabu K, et al.
The inhibitory effect of salinomycin on the proliferation, migration and invasion of human endometrial cancer stem-like cells.
Gynecol Oncol. 2013; 129(3):598-605 [PubMed] Related Publications
GOALS: We previously demonstrated that side-population (SP) cells in human endometrial cancer cells (Hec1 cells) and in rat endometrial cells expressing oncogenic human K-Ras protein (RK12V cells) have features of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Hec1-SP cells showed enhanced migration and the potential to differentiate into the mesenchymal cell lineage. In this study, we analyzed the association of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) with the properties of these endometrial CSCs. We also assessed the effects of salinomycin (a compound with EMT-specific toxicity) on the proliferative capacity, migration and invasiveness of these endometrial CSCs using Hec1-SP cells.
METHOD: We performed microarray expression analysis to screen for up-regulated genes in CSCs using a set of RK12V-SP cells and -non-SP(NSP) cells and used the Metacore package to identify the Gene GO pathway MAPs involved in the up-regulated genes. To analyze their association with EMT, the expression of several EMT associated genes in Hec1-SP cells was investigated by real time PCR and compared with that in Hec1-NSP cells. We assessed the expression of BAX, BCL2, LEF1, cyclinD and fibronectin by real time PCR. We also evaluated the viabilities, migration and invasive activities, and tumorigenicities of these SP cells and NSP cells in the presence or absence of salinomycin.
RESULTS: We demonstrated that i) EMT processes were observed in both RK12V-SP cells and Hec1-SP cells, ii) the level of fibronectin was enhanced in Hec1-SP cells and salinomycin reduced the level of fibronectin expression, iii) salinomycin induced apoptosis and inhibited Wnt signaling, and iv) salinomycin inhibited the proliferation, migration, invasiveness and tumorigenicity of these SP cells.
CONCLUSION: This is the first report of an inhibitory effect of salinomycin on the properties of endometrial CSCs.

Sun X, Qin S, Fan C, et al.
Let-7: a regulator of the ERα signaling pathway in human breast tumors and breast cancer stem cells.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 29(5):2079-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
The oncogenic role of estrogen receptor (ER)α and its correlation with let-7 microRNAs (miRNAs) have been studied and confirmed in breast tumors; however, this correlation has not been investigated in breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs). In the present study, we detected the expression of let-7 and ERα in ER-positive breast tumor tissues. Furthermore, we used a FACSAria cell sorter to separate side population (SP) cells from the MCF-7 and T47-D cell lines by Hoechst 33342 staining. The expression of let-7 miRNAs, ERα and its downstream genes in SP and non-SP (NSP) cells were analyzed. In additional experiments, we transfected a plasmid expressing let-7a into SP cells isolated from the MCF-7 and T47-D cell lines in order to observe changes in the expression of downstream genes (cyclin D1 and pS2). The correlation among let-7, ERα and ERα downstream genes suggested that let-7 acts as a tumor suppressor by inhibiting ERα-mediated cellular malignant growth in ER-positive breast cancer stem cells. The suppression of ERα by the upregulation of let-7 expression may be a promising strategy for the inhibition of the ER signaling pathway and for the elimination of cancer stem cells, thus aiding in the treatment of breast cancer.

Wang Y, Yin C, Feng L, et al.
Sorting, identification and enrichment of side population cells in THP-1 acute monocytic leukemia cells.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 29(5):1923-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
The objective of the present study was to examine and determine whether the human acute monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1 contains side population (SP) cells, and, if so, to increase the proportion of SP cells using arabinosylcytosine (Ara-C). Fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry were employed to detect the percentage of SP cells in THP-1 cells. Then, SP and non-SP (NSP) cell subpopulations were collected and identified. THP-1 cells were incubated with different concentrations of Ara-C for 24 h and the proportion of SP cells was detected. Our results demonstrated that the percentage of SP cells was 1.81 ± 0.99% in THP-1 cells. A majority of the SP cells remained in the G₀/G₁ phase, and the expression of CD34⁺ and CD34⁺CD38⁻ and the proliferation ability of the SP cells were higher compared to NSP cells (P<0.05). The mRNA expression of multidrug resistance genes (ABCG2 and ABCB1), apoptosis regulation genes (Bcl-2) and the Bcl-2/Bax value of SP cells were higher than those of NSP cells. SP cells have been shown to be more tumorigenic than NSP cells. Following co-culture with Ara-C, the proportion of SP cells increased significantly and subsequently the Ara-C concentration increased. These findings suggest that the THP-1 cell line contains SP cells and that SP cells possess certain intrinsic stem cell properties and may contain a larger proportion of leukemia stem cells (LSCs). The concentrations of SP cells can be increased with Ara-C by co-culture, and this technique is a useful and important application for the study of LSCs.

Popov SD, Vujanic GM, Sebire NJ, et al.
Bilateral wilms tumor with TP53-related anaplasia.
Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2013 May-Jun; 16(3):217-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wilms tumor (WT) with diffuse anaplasia has an unfavorable prognosis and is often (>70%) associated with mutations in the TP53 gene. Although most WTs are unilateral, 5-10% are bilateral, and they are almost always present with nephrogenic rests. The latter are considered a precursor of WT. Two cases of bilateral WTs with nephroblastomatosis, in which anaplastic changes were detected over a period of time, were analyzed using clinical, radiological, histopathological, and molecular-genetic data. TP53 was analyzed by direct sequencing of its full coding sequence and intron-exon boundaries in 11 fragments. DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded or frozen specimens. High-resolution genomic copy number profiling was carried out by UCL Genomics on the Affymetrix Human Mapping 250K Nsp or Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 platform. Both cases demonstrated a strong association between the appearance of anaplastic clones and TP53 mutations. Synchronous ganglioneuroma was diagnosed in one case. Our cases are unique as they represent a long disease history and demonstrate the difficulties in managing rare cases of bilateral WT with anaplasia. These cases also emphasize the practical importance of modern molecular-genetic techniques and their clinical application. Moreover, they highlight the issue of the adequate sampling needed in order to gather comprehensive, efficient, and sufficient information about genetic events in a single tumor.

Xu C, Wang P, Liu Y, et al.
Integrative genomics in combination with RNA interference identifies prognostic and functionally relevant gene targets for oral squamous cell carcinoma.
PLoS Genet. 2013; 9(1):e1003169 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), metastasis to lymph nodes is associated with a 50% reduction in 5-year survival. To identify a metastatic gene set based on DNA copy number abnormalities (CNAs) of differentially expressed genes, we compared DNA and RNA of OSCC cells laser-microdissected from non-metastatic primary tumors (n = 17) with those from lymph node metastases (n = 20), using Affymetrix 250K Nsp single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays and U133 Plus 2.0 arrays, respectively. With a false discovery rate (FDR)<5%, 1988 transcripts were found to be differentially expressed between primary and metastatic OSCC. Of these, 114 were found to have a significant correlation between DNA copy number and gene expression (FDR<0.01). Among these 114 correlated transcripts, the corresponding genomic regions of each of 95 transcripts had CNAs differences between primary and metastatic OSCC (FDR<0.01). Using an independent dataset of 133 patients, multivariable analysis showed that the OSCC-specific and overall mortality hazards ratio (HR) for patients carrying the 95-transcript signature were 4.75 (95% CI: 2.03-11.11) and 3.45 (95% CI: 1.84-6.50), respectively. To determine the degree by which these genes impact cell survival, we compared the growth of five OSCC cell lines before and after knockdown of over-amplified transcripts via a high-throughput siRNA-mediated screen. The expression-knockdown of 18 of the 26 genes tested showed a growth suppression ≥ 30% in at least one cell line (P<0.01). In particular, cell lines derived from late-stage OSCC were more sensitive to the knockdown of G3BP1 than cell lines derived from early-stage OSCC, and the growth suppression was likely caused by increase in apoptosis. Further investigation is warranted to examine the biological role of these genes in OSCC progression and their therapeutic potentials.

Hepburn AC, Veeratterapillay R, Williamson SC, et al.
Side population in human non-muscle invasive bladder cancer enriches for cancer stem cells that are maintained by MAPK signalling.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(11):e50690 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Side population (SP) and ABC transporter expression enrich for stem cells in numerous tissues. We explored if this phenotype characterised human bladder cancer stem cells (CSCs) and attempted to identify regulatory mechanisms. Focusing on non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), multiple human cell lines were used to characterise SP and ABC transporter expression. In vitro and in vivo phenotypic and functional assessments of CSC behaviour were undertaken. Expression of putative CSC marker ABCG2 was assessed in clinical NMIBC samples (n = 148), and a role for MAPK signalling, a central mechanism of bladder tumourigenesis, was investigated. Results showed that the ABCG2 transporter was predominantly expressed and was up-regulated in the SP fraction by 3-fold (ABCG2(hi)) relative to the non-SP (NSP) fraction (ABCG2(low)). ABCG2(hi) SP cells displayed enrichment of stem cell markers (Nanog, Notch1 and SOX2) and a three-fold increase in colony forming efficiency (CFE) in comparison to ABCG2(low) NSP cells. In vivo, ABCG2(hi) SP cells enriched for tumour growth compared with ABCG2(low) NSP cells, consistent with CSCs. pERK was constitutively active in ABCG2(hi) SP cells and MEK inhibition also inhibited the ABCG2(hi) SP phenotype and significantly suppressed CFE. Furthermore, on examining clinical NMIBC samples, ABCG2 expression correlated with increased recurrence and decreased progression free survival. Additionally, pERK expression also correlated with decreased progression free survival, whilst a positive correlation was further demonstrated between ABCG2 and pERK expression. In conclusion, we confirm ABCG2(hi) SP enriches for CSCs in human NMIBC and MAPK/ERK pathway is a suitable therapeutic target.

She JJ, Zhang PG, Wang X, et al.
Side population cells isolated from KATO III human gastric cancer cell line have cancer stem cell-like characteristics.
World J Gastroenterol. 2012; 18(33):4610-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To investigate whether the side population (SP) cells possess cancer stem cell-like characteristics in vitro and the role of SP cells in tumorigenic process in gastric cancer.
METHODS: We analyzed the presence of SP cells in different human gastric carcinoma cell lines, and then isolated and identified the SP cells from the KATO III human gastric cancer cell line by flow cytometry. The clonogenic ability and self-renewal were evaluated by clone and sphere formation assays. The related genes were determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. To compare tumorigenic ability, SP and non-side population (NSP) cells from the KATO III human gastric cancer cell line were subcutaneously injected into nude mice.
RESULTS: SP cells from the total population accounted for 0.57% in KATO III, 1.04% in Hs-746T, and 0.02% in AGS (CRL-1739). SP cells could grow clonally and have self-renewal capability in conditioned media. The expression of ABCG2, MDRI, Bmi-1 and Oct-4 was different between SP and NSP cells. However, there was no apparent difference between SP and NSP cells when they were injected into nude mice.
CONCLUSION: SP cells have some cancer stem cell-like characteristics in vitro and can be used for studying the tumorigenic process in gastric cancer.

Lee MR, Ju HJ, Kim BS, et al.
Isolation of side population cells in B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.
Acta Haematol. 2013; 129(1):10-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Side population (SP) cells are characterized by the ability to exclude Hoechst 33342 dye due to high expression of the ATP-binding cassette transporter. This ability is associated with drug-resistant characteristics of cancer stem cells.
METHODS: We analyzed SP cells from human B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines and primary cells derived from patients and compared them with non-SP (NSP) cells.
RESULTS: SP cells comprised a minor fraction of all cells ranging from 1.5 ± 1.8 to 8.3 ± 5.7% in cell lines and had higher ABCG2 expression than NSP cells. SP cells had better cell viability, colony-forming ability and drug resistance than NSP cells. The SP cells also showed stem cell-like characteristics, including elevated telomerase activity and higher expression of OCT4 and NANOG. A cDNA microarray demonstrated that SP cells had decreased expression of genes associated with apoptosis and cell death compared to NSP cells.
CONCLUSIONS: The presence of SP cells might imply the possibility of lymphoma stem cells and be associated with a malignant potential of B-cell lymphoma.

Zeimet AG, Reimer D, Sopper S, et al.
Ovarian cancer stem cells.
Neoplasma. 2012; 59(6):747-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
Because of its semi-solid character in dissemination and growth, advanced ovarian cancer with its hundreds of peritoneal tumor nodules and plaques appears to be an excellent in vivo model for studying the cancer stem cell hypothesis. The most important obstacle, however, is to adequately define and isolate these tumor-initiating cells endowed with the properties of anoikis-resistance and unlimited self-renewal. Until now, no universal single marker or marker constellation has been found to faithfully isolate (ovarian) cancer stem cells. As these multipotent cells are known to possess highly elaborated efflux systems for cytotoxic agents, these pump systems have been exploited to outline putative stem cells as a side-population (SP) via dye exclusion analysis. Furthermore, the cells in question have been isolated via flow cytometry on the basis of cell surface markers thought to be characteristic for stem cells.In the Vienna variant of the ovarian cancer cell line A2780 a proof-of-principle model with both a stable SP and a stable ALDH1A1+ cell population was established. Double staining clearly revealed that both cell fractions were not identical. Of note, A2780V cells were negative for expression of surface markers CD44 and CD117 (c-kit). When cultured on monolayers of healthy human mesothelial cells, green-fluorescence-protein (GFP)-transfected SP of A2780V exhibited spheroid-formation, whereas non-side-population (NSP) developed a spare monolayer growing over the healthy mesothelium. Furthermore, A2780V SP was found to be partially resistant to platinum. However, this resistance could not be explained by over-expression of the "excision repair cross-complementation group 1" (ERCC1) gene, which is essentially involved in the repair of platinated DNA damage. ERCC1 was, nonetheless, over-expressed in A2780V cells grown as spheres under stem cell-selective conditions as compared to adherent monolayers cultured under differentiating conditions. The same was true for the primary ovarian cancer cells B-57.In summary our investigations indicate that even in multi-passaged cancer cell lines hierarchic government of growth and differentiation is conserved and that the key cancer stem cell population may be composed of small overlapping cell fractions defined by various arbitrary markers.

Chen S, Xu Y, Chen Y, et al.
SOX2 gene regulates the transcriptional network of oncogenes and affects tumorigenesis of human lung cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(5):e36326 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent studies demonstrated that cancer stem cells (CSCs) have higher tumorigenesis properties than those of differentiated cancer cells and that transcriptional factor-SOX2 plays a vital role in maintaining the unique properties of CSCs; however, the function and underlying mechanism of SOX2 in carcinogenesis of lung cancer are still elusive. This study applied immunohistochemistry to analyze the expression of SOX2 in human lung tissues of normal individuals as well as patients with adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell and small cell carcinoma and demonstrated specific overexpression of SOX2 in all types of lung cancer tissues. This finding supports the notion that SOX2 contributes to the tumorigenesis of lung cancer cells and can be used as a diagnostic probe. In addition, obviously higher expression of oncogenes c-MYC, WNT1, WNT2, and NOTCH1 was detected in side population (SP) cells than in non-side population (NSP) cells of human lung adenocarcinoma cell line-A549, revealing a possible mechanism for the tenacious tumorigenic potential of CSCs. To further elucidate the function of SOX2 in tumorigenesis of cancer cells, A549 cells were established with expression of luciferase and doxycycline-inducible shRNA targeting SOX2. We found silencing of SOX2 gene reduces the tumorigenic property of A549 cells with attenuated expression of c-MYC, WNT1, WNT2, and NOTCH1 in xenografted NOD/SCID mice. By using the RNA-Seq method, an additional 246 target cancer genes of SOX2 were revealed. These results present evidence that SOX2 may regulate the expression of oncogenes in CSCs to promote the development of human lung cancer.

Guo D, Xu BL, Zhang XH, Dong MM
Cancer stem-like side population cells in the human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line cne-2 possess epithelial mesenchymal transition properties in association with metastasis.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 28(1):241-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
It has been recently reported that side population (SP) cells in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cell lines display characteristics of cancer stem-like cells. However, the biological behavior and the significance of these cells for NPC progression remain unclear. In this study, we isolated SP cells from the NPC cell line CNE-2 by flow cytometry and investigated their biological characteristics. We discovered that SP cells had stronger colony forming abilities compared to the non-side population (NSP) cells, and observed that some SP cells looked more like the shape of mesenchymal cells when cultured in the common polyHEMA-coated flask. When checked by quantitative real-time PCR, the SP cells expressed higher levels of stemness-related genes Oct4, Sox2 and Nanog, and mesenchymal cell-related genes N-cadherin, vimentin and Snail, while they expressed lower levels of the epithelial cell-related gene, E-cadherin. Western blot and immunofluorescence staining methods further verified that SP cells expressed higher vimentin and expressed lower E-cadherin levels. Finally, Transwell invasion assay results indicated that the SP cells had higher invasive potential compared to NSP cells. Collectively, our data reveal that SP cells in the CNE-2 cell line not only possess the properties of cancer stem cells, but also have more mesenchymal cell characteristics which are associated with epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer cell invasion and metastasis. These findings are helpful for developing novel targets for effective clinical treatment of NPC.

Serrano NA, Xu C, Liu Y, et al.
Integrative analysis in oral squamous cell carcinoma reveals DNA copy number-associated miRNAs dysregulating target genes.
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012; 147(3):501-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To better understand possible mechanisms involved in the dysregulation of gene expression unique to oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) metastasis, the investigators examined the differential expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in OSCC metastasis and their functional impact on target gene expression.
STUDY DESIGN: Observational assessment of DNA copy number, miRNA, and RNA expression in primary and metastatic OSCC.
SETTING: University of Washington Medical Center and affiliated hospitals.
SUBJECTS: Tumor samples were taken from patients with primary incident OSCC; cells were laser-capture microdissected from 17 nonmetastatic primary tumors and 20 metastatic lymph nodes.
METHODS: DNA copy number aberrations and gene expression profiles were previously determined using Affymetrix 250K Nsp I SNP arrays and HU133 plus 2.0 expression arrays. miRNAs were interrogated with Exiqon's Ready-to-Use PCR Panels assessing the expression of 368 human miRNAs.
RESULTS: Investigators found 31 miRNAs differentially expressed between metastatic and nonmetastatic samples (false discovery rate <0.4; 26 overexpressed and 5 underexpressed in metastatic samples). Expression of 7 of these miRNAs was significantly associated with their DNA copy numbers, and expressions of 8 of these miRNAs were significantly associated with their target genes. Among these unique miRNAs, miR-140-3p, miR-29c, and miR-29a were differentially expressed in metastasis versus nonmetastatic samples and had a strong positive correlation with their DNA copy numbers and a negative correlation with the expression of their target genes.
CONCLUSION: Results suggest that DNA copy number aberration may play a role in the dysregulation of some differentially expressed miRNAs in OSCC metastasis, warranting further investigation.

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