NANOG

Gene Summary

Gene:NANOG; Nanog homeobox
Location:12p13.31
Summary:-
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:homeobox protein NANOG
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 26 February, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (16)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 26 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Lung Cancer
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Antigens, CD44
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • siRNA
  • Xenograft Models
  • Cell Movement
  • Germ Cell Tumours
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Gene Expression
  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Peptides
  • Stem Cells
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Promoter Regions
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Taxoids
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Breast Cancer
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Protein Transport
  • Transduction
  • Taiwan
  • Down-Regulation
  • MicroRNAs
  • Cisplatin
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Messenger RNA
  • Staging
  • Apoptosis
  • CD Antigens
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Drug Resistance
  • Western Blotting
  • Chromosome 12
  • NANOG
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Cell Line
Tag cloud generated 26 February, 2015 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: NANOG (cancer-related)

Tulsyan S, Agarwal G, Lal P, Mittal B
Significant association of combination of OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2 gene polymorphisms in susceptibility and response to treatment in North Indian breast cancer patients.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2014; 74(5):1065-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Dysregulations of regulatory genes in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) gene polymorphisms may lead to breast cancer cell growth, differentiation, and tumor metastasis.
METHODS: Polymorphisms in OCT4 (rs3130932), NANOG (rs11055786), LIN28 (rs4274112), and SOX2 (rs11915160) genes were evaluated for susceptibility in 297 breast cancer females and 273 healthy controls from north Indian population. Response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy was followed in 128 locally advanced breast cancer patients along with clinicopathological features. Genotyping was done using TaqMan allelic discrimination assays. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS and multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR).
RESULTS: For OCT4 gene polymorphism, protective effect of genotypes AC [P corr = 0.031, OR = 0.63 (0.44-0.91)] and AC+CC [P corr = 0.031, OR = 0.68 (0.48-0.95)] was seen in patients. However, no association of NANOG, LIN28, and SOX2 gene polymorphisms was found with overall breast cancer susceptibility. Further, significant association of AG+GG genotype [P corr = 0.021, OR = 6.08 (1.83-20.15)] and G allele [P corr = 0.021, OR = 3.07 (1.21-7.77)] of rs4274112 polymorphism was seen with positive lymph node. For OCT4, significant association of allele C was seen with patients having negative hormone receptor [P corr = 0.021, OR = 0.51 (0.29-0.90)], but no association of any of the studied polymorphisms individually was found with response to NACT. On MDR analysis, we found combination of SNPs SOX2 rs11915160, OCT4 rs3130932, and NANOG rs11055786 to be the best interaction model for predicting breast cancer risk [p for permutation test <10(-3), OR = 2.04 (1.43-2.910] and response to NACT [p for permutation test = 0.005, OR = 2.09 (1.24-3.52)].
CONCLUSION: Combination of genetic variants of ESCs gene may have a profound effect in breast cancer risk and response to NACT.

Nawata J, Kuramitsu Y, Wang Y, et al.
Active hexose-correlated compound down-regulates sex-determining region Y-box 2 of pancreatic cancer cells.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(9):4807-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Active hexose-correlated compound (AHCC) is an extract of basidiomycete mushroom. It has been used as health food due to its efficacy of enhancing antitumor effects and reducing adverse effects of chemotherapy. Our previous research showed that AHCC down-regulated heat-shock protein (HSP)-27 and exhibited cytotoxic effects against gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells. Sex-determining region Y-box 2 (SOX2) is reported to be up-regulated in other kinds of cancer cells and involved in carcinogenesis and malignancy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of AHCC on protein expression of SOX2 in the gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cell line KLM1-R.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: AHCC was applied to KLM1-R cells and expression of SOX2 was analyzed by western blotting.
RESULTS: AHCC down-regulated SOX2 in KLM1-R cells. Nanog and Oct4, co-workers of SOX2 in maintaining pluripotency, did not exhibit any significant change in protein expression.
CONCLUSION: We showed the potential of AHCC to be a candidate for combinatorial therapy in anticancer drug regimens. This result suggests that the target of AHCC in expressing therapeutic efficacy was not the pluripotent cells such as cancer stem cells (CSCs) but SOX2-specific.

Kregel S, Szmulewitz RZ, Vander Griend DJ
The pluripotency factor Nanog is directly upregulated by the androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells.
Prostate. 2014; 74(15):1530-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The Androgen Receptor (AR) is a nuclear hormone receptor that functions as a critical oncogene in all stages of prostate cancer progression, including progression to castration-resistance following androgen-deprivation therapy. Thus, identifying and targeting critical AR-regulated genes is one potential method to block castration-resistant cancer proliferation. Of particular importance are transcription factors that regulate stem cell pluripotency; many of these genes are emerging as critical oncogenes in numerous tumor cell types. Of these, Nanog has been previously shown to increase the self-renewal and stem-like properties of prostate cancer cells. Thus, we hypothesized that Nanog is a candidate AR target gene that may impart castration-resistance.
METHODS: We modulated AR signaling in LNCaP prostate cancer cells and assayed for Nanog expression. Direct AR binding to the NANOG promoter was tested using AR Chromatin Immunoprecipation (ChIP) and analyses of publically available AR ChIP-sequencing data-sets. Nanog over-expressing cells were analyzed for cell growth and cytotoxicity in response to the AR antagonist enzalutamide and the microtubule stabilizing agent docetaxel.
RESULTS: AR signaling upregulates Nanog mRNA and protein. AR binds directly to the NANOG promoter, and was not identified within 75 kb of the NANOGP8 pseudogene, suggesting the NANOG gene locus was preferentially activated. Nanog overexpression in LNCaP cells increases overall growth, but does not increase resistance to enzalutamide or docetaxel.
CONCLUSIONS: Nanog is a novel oncogenic AR target gene in prostate cancer cells, and stable expression of Nanog increases proliferation and growth of prostate cancer cells, but not resistance to enzalutamide or docetaxel.

Liu C, Liu Y, Xu XX, et al.
Potential effect of matrix stiffness on the enrichment of tumor initiating cells under three-dimensional culture conditions.
Exp Cell Res. 2015; 330(1):123-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem cell (CSC) or tumor initiating cell (TIC) plays an important role in tumor progression and metastasis. Biophysical forces in tumor microenvironment have an important effect on tumor formation and development. In this study, the potential effect of matrix stiffness on the biological characteristics of human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) TICs, especially the enrichment of HNSCC TICs, was investigated under three-dimensional (3D) culture conditions by means of alginate gel (ALG) beads with different matrix stiffnesses. ALG beads with soft (21 kPa), moderate (70 kPa) and hard (105 kPa) stiffness were generated by changing alginate concentration. It was found that significant HNSCC TIC enrichment was achieved in the ALG beads with moderate matrix stiffness (70 kPa). The gene expression of stemness markers Oct3/4 and Nanog, TIC markers CD44 and ABCG2 was enhanced in cells under this moderate (70 kPa) stiffness. HNSCC TIC proportion was also highly enriched under moderate matrix stiffness, accompanying with higher tumorigenicity, metastatic ability and drug resistance. And it was also found that the possible molecular mechanism underlying the regulated TIC properties by matrix stiffness under 3D culture conditions was significantly different from 2D culture condition. Therefore, the results achieved in this study indicated that 3D biophysical microenvironment had an important effect on TIC characteristics and alginate-based biomimetic scaffolds could be utilized as a proper platform to investigate the interaction between tumor cells and 3D microenvironment.

Chen G, Kong J, Tucker-Burden C, et al.
Human Brat ortholog TRIM3 is a tumor suppressor that regulates asymmetric cell division in glioblastoma.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(16):4536-48 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Cancer stem cells, capable of self-renewal and multipotent differentiation, influence tumor behavior through a complex balance of symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions. Mechanisms regulating the dynamics of stem cells and their progeny in human cancer are poorly understood. In Drosophila, mutation of brain tumor (brat) leads to loss of normal asymmetric cell division by developing neural cells and results in a massively enlarged brain composed of neuroblasts with neoplastic properties. Brat promotes asymmetric cell division and directs neural differentiation at least partially through its suppression on Myc. We identified TRIM3 (11p15.5) as a human ortholog of Drosophila brat and demonstrate its regulation of asymmetric cell division and stem cell properties of glioblastoma (GBM), a highly malignant human brain tumor. TRIM3 gene expression is markedly reduced in human GBM samples, neurosphere cultures, and cell lines and its reconstitution impairs growth properties in vitro and in vivo. TRIM3 expression attenuates stem-like qualities of primary GBM cultures, including neurosphere formation and the expression of stem cell markers CD133, Nestin, and Nanog. In GBM stem cells, TRIM3 expression leads to a greater percentage dividing asymmetrically rather than symmetrically. As with Brat in Drosophila, TRIM3 suppresses c-Myc expression and activity in human glioma cell lines. We also demonstrate a strong regulation of Musashi-Notch signaling by TRIM3 in GBM neurospheres and neural stem cells that may better explain its effect on stem cell dynamics. We conclude that TRIM3 acts as a tumor suppressor in GBM by restoring asymmetric cell division.

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.

Jin M, Zhang T, Liu C, et al.
miRNA-128 suppresses prostate cancer by inhibiting BMI-1 to inhibit tumor-initiating cells.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(15):4183-95 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
microRNA-128 (miR128) is reduced in prostate cancer relative to normal/benign prostate tissues, but causal roles are obscure. Here we show that exogenously introduced miR128 suppresses tumor regeneration in multiple prostate cancer xenograft models. Cancer stem-like cell (CSC)-associated properties were blocked, including holoclone and sphere formation as well as clonogenic survival. Using a miR128 sensor to distinguish cells on the basis of miR128 expression, we found that miR128-lo cells possessed higher clonal, clonogenic, and tumorigenic activities than miR128-hi cells. miR128 targets the stem cell regulatory factors BMI-1, NANOG, and TGFBR1, the expression of which we found to vary inversely with miR128 expression in prostate cancer stem/progenitor cell populations. In particular, we defined BMI-1 as a direct and functionally relevant target of miR128 in prostate cancer cells, where these genes were reciprocally expressed and exhibited opposing biological functions. Our results define a tumor suppressor function for miR128 in prostate cancer by limiting CSC properties mediated by BMI-1 and other central stem cell regulators, with potential implications for prostate cancer gene therapy.

Sun Y, Wang Y, Fan C, et al.
Estrogen promotes stemness and invasiveness of ER-positive breast cancer cells through Gli1 activation.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:137 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although long-term estrogen (E2) exposure is associated with increased breast cancer (BC) risk, and E2 appears to sustain growth of BC cells that express functional estrogen receptors (ERs), its role in promoting BC stem cells (CSCs) remains unclear. Considering that Gli1, part of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) developmental pathway, has been shown to mediate CSCs, we investigated whether E2 and Gli1 could promote CSCs and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in ER+ BC cell lines.
METHODS: We knocked down Gli1 in several BC cells using a doxycycline-controlled vector, and compared Gli1-knockdown cells and Gli1+ cells in behavior and expression of ER, Gli1, ALDH1 (BC-CSC marker), Shh, Ptch1 (Shh receptor) and SOX2, Nanog and Bmi-1 (CSC-associated transcriptions factors), using PCR; tissue microarrays, western blot; chromatin immunoprecipitation q-PCR, confocal immunofluorescence microscopy; fluorescence-activated cell sorting; annexin-flow cytometry (for apoptosis); mammosphere culture; and colony formation, immunohistochemistry, Matrigel and wound-scratch assays.
RESULTS: Both mRNA and protein expressions of ER correlated with those of Gli1 and ALDH1. E2 induced Gli1 expression only in ER+ BC cells. E2 promoted CSC renewal, invasiveness and EMT in ER+/Gli1+ cells but not in Gli1-knockdown cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that estrogen acts via Gli1 to promote CSC development and EMT in ER+ BC cells. These findings also imply that Gli1 mediates cancer stem cells, and thus could be a target of a novel treatment for ER+ breast cancer.

Jung K, Wu F, Wang P, et al.
YB-1 regulates Sox2 to coordinately sustain stemness and tumorigenic properties in a phenotypically distinct subset of breast cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:328 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Sox2, a transcription factor and an embryonic stem cell marker, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of breast cancer (BC). YB-1 is another transcription factor that has been shown to promote stemness in BC cells.
METHODS: Western blotting, quantitative PCR, and siRNAs were used to query the regulatory relationships between YB-1, Sox2, and their downstream targets. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was used to detect YB-1 interactions at the Sox2 promoter. Mammosphere and soft agar assays were used to assess the phenotypic consequences of YB-1 knockdown.
RESULTS: Here, we report that YB-1 regulates Sox2. YB-1 was found to bind to the SOX2 promoter and down-regulate its expression in MCF7 and ZR751. The regulatory interaction between YB-1 and Sox2 was drastically different between the two phenotypically distinct cell subsets, purified based on their differential response to a Sox2 reporter. They are referred to as the reporter unresponsive (RU) cells and the reporter responsive (RR) cells. Upon siRNA knockdown of YB-1, RU cells showed an increase in Sox2 expression but no change in Sox2 reporter activity; in contrast, RR cells exhibited increased expression and reporter activity of Sox2. Correlating with these findings, YB-1 knockdown induced a differential response in the expression of genes known to be regulated by both Sox2 and YB-1 (e.g. CCND1 and ITGA6). For instance, in response to YB-1 knockdown, CCND1 and ITGA6 expression were decreased or unchanged in RU cells but paradoxically increased in RR cells. Compared to RU cells, RR cells were significantly more resistant to the suppression of mammosphere formation due to YB-1 knockdown. Importantly, mammospheres derived from parental MCF7 cells treated with YB-1 siRNA knockdown exhibited higher expression levels of SOX2 and its downstream targets.
CONCLUSIONS: To conclude, in a subset of BC cells, namely RR cells, YB-1 regulates Sox2 to coordinately maintain stemness and tumorigenic properties.

Ma R, Minsky N, Morshed SA, Davies TF
Stemness in human thyroid cancers and derived cell lines: the role of asymmetrically dividing cancer stem cells resistant to chemotherapy.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(3):E400-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
CONTEXT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have the ability to self-renew through symmetric and asymmetric cell division. CSCs may arise from mutations within an embryonic stem cell/progenitor cell population or via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and recent advances in the study of thyroid stem cells have led to a growing recognition of the likely central importance of CSCs in thyroid tumorigenesis.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to establish the presence of a stem cell population in human thyroid tumors and to identify, isolate, and characterize CSCs in thyroid cancer cell lines.
RESULTS: 1) Human thyroid cancers (n = 10) and thyroid cancer cell lines (n = 6) contained a stem cell population as evidenced by pluripotent stem cell gene expression. 2) Pulse-chase experiments with thyroid cancer cells identified a label-retaining cell population, a primary characteristic of CSCs, which at mitosis divided their DNA both symmetrically and asymmetrically and included a population of cells expressing the progenitor marker, stage-specific embryonic antigen 1 (SSEA-1). 3) Cells positive for SSEA-1 expressed additional stem cell markers including Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog were confirmed as CSCs by their tumor-initiating properties in vivo, their resistance to chemotherapy, and their multipotent capability. 4) SSEA-1-positive cells showed enhanced vimentin expression and decreased E-cadherin expression, indicating their likely derivation via EMT.
CONCLUSIONS: Cellular diversity in thyroid cancer occurs through both symmetric and asymmetric cell division, and SSEA-1-positive cells are one form of CSCs that appear to have arisen via EMT and may be the source of malignant thyroid tumor formation. This would suggest that thyroid cancer CSCs were the result of thyroid cancer transformation rather than the source.

Kryczek I, Lin Y, Nagarsheth N, et al.
IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells promote colorectal cancer stemness via STAT3 transcription factor activation and induction of the methyltransferase DOT1L.
Immunity. 2014; 40(5):772-84 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/05/2015 Related Publications
Little is known about how the immune system impacts human colorectal cancer invasiveness and stemness. Here we detected interleukin-22 (IL-22) in patient colorectal cancer tissues that was produced predominantly by CD4(+) T cells. In a mouse model, migration of these cells into the colon cancer microenvironment required the chemokine receptor CCR6 and its ligand CCL20. IL-22 acted on cancer cells to promote activation of the transcription factor STAT3 and expression of the histone 3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methytransferase DOT1L. The DOT1L complex induced the core stem cell genes NANOG, SOX2, and Pou5F1, resulting in increased cancer stemness and tumorigenic potential. Furthermore, high DOT1L expression and H3K79me2 in colorectal cancer tissues was a predictor of poor patient survival. Thus, IL-22(+) cells promote colon cancer stemness via regulation of stemness genes that negatively affects patient outcome. Efforts to target this network might be a strategy in treating colorectal cancer patients.

Rivlin N, Katz S, Doody M, et al.
Rescue of embryonic stem cells from cellular transformation by proteomic stabilization of mutant p53 and conversion into WT conformation.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(19):7006-11 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/05/2015 Related Publications
p53 is a well-known tumor suppressor that is mutated in over 50% of human cancers. These mutations were shown to exhibit gain of oncogenic function compared with the deletion of the gene. Additionally, p53 has fundamental roles in differentiation and development; nevertheless, mutant p53 mice are viable and develop malignant tumors only on adulthood. We set out to reveal the mechanisms by which embryos are protected from mutant p53-induced transformation using ES cells (ESCs) that express a conformational mutant of p53. We found that, despite harboring mutant p53, the ESCs remain pluripotent and benign and have relatively normal karyotype compared with ESCs knocked out for p53. Additionally, using high-content RNA sequencing, we show that p53 is transcriptionally active in response to DNA damage in mutant ESCs and elevates p53 target genes, such as p21 and btg2. We also show that the conformation of mutant p53 protein in ESCs is stabilized to a WT conformation. Through MS-based interactome analyses, we identified a network of proteins, including the CCT complex, USP7, Aurora kinase, Nedd4, and Trim24, that bind mutant p53 and may shift its conformation to a WT form. We propose this conformational shift as a novel mechanism of maintenance of genomic integrity, despite p53 mutation. Harnessing the ability of these protein interactors to transform the oncogenic mutant p53 to the tumor suppressor WT form can be the basis for future development of p53-targeted cancer therapy.

Asadi MH, Derakhshani A, Mowla SJ
Concomitant upregulation of nucleostemin and downregulation of Sox2 and Klf4 in gastric adenocarcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(7):7177-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nucleostemin (NS) is a nucleolar protein involved in stem cell (SC) self-renewal by controlling cell cycle progression. In addition to SCs, NS is also expressed in some highly proliferating cells including several adult stem cells and cancer cell lines. NS knock-down in different cell lines demonstrated its cell type-dependent function in arresting cell cycle in either G1 or G2/M phases. Here, we have evaluated the expression of NS and iPS genes in 36 gastric cancer and their matched marginal nontumor tissues by means of real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). We have also examined a potential causative role of NS in gastric tumorigenesis by suppressing its expression in a gastric cancer cell line, AGS. Our data revealed that NS expression level is much higher in tumor tissues (p = 0.046), especially in high-grade ones (p < 0.001), whereas the expression of Klf4 and Sox2 is downregulated in tumor tissues compared to marginal nontumor samples (p < 0.001). Furthermore, NS suppression in the AGS cell line caused some morphological alterations, a cell cycle arrest at G1 phase, and an upregulation of iPS genes: Nanog, Sox2, and Klf4. Based on our results, NS overexpression seems to have a causative role in gastric tumorigenesis and/or progression, and it could be considered as a potential tumor marker for diagnosis, molecular classification, and molecular therapy of gastric adenocarcinoma.

Maria T, Panagiotis A, Marina C, et al.
How prostate-specific membrane antigen level may be correlated with stemness in prostate cancer stem cell-like cell populations?
J Cancer Res Ther. 2014 Jan-Mar; 10(1):133-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a widely used targeted molecule in prostate patients. The present research, attempts to support the hypothesis that PSMA expression in prostate cancer stem cell-like (CSC) cell populations may be correlated with nanog and other transcription factors in different stages of prostate carcinomas.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: To provide more accurate evidence of the above, a population of prostate CSCs was isolated and analyzed using different protocols. The first method was based in the ability of CSCs to form spherical colonies in semi-suspension of a culture. A qPCRbased protocol and a flow cytometric analysis protocol were chosen to test the presence of stemness markers and PSMA in the selected populations.
RESULTS: The formation of micro-sphere in semi-suspension has been pointed out. In the other panels of the test, the linear correlation between PSMA and nanog in gene and protein level was shown. However, the statistical analysis including the coefficient of variationand standard deviation's values) has proved that there were differences in PSMA expression between cancer cells and CSCs.
CONCLUSION: The previous analysis has pointed out that PSMA expression may be correlated with nanog's expression as well as with other confounders in a population of prostate CSCs.

Dogan I, Kawabata S, Bergbower E, et al.
SOX2 expression is an early event in a murine model of EGFR mutant lung cancer and promotes proliferation of a subset of EGFR mutant lung adenocarcinoma cell lines.
Lung Cancer. 2014; 85(1):1-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2015 Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Primary and acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs in EGFR mutant lung cancer occurs primarily through secondary mutations in EGFR or Met amplification. Drug resistance can also be mediated by expression of pluripotency transcription factors, such as OCT4, SOX2 and NANOG that decrease terminal differentiation. In this study, we investigated the expression and role of SOX2 in model systems of EGFR mutant tumors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Immunoblotting or immunohistochemistry was used to assess expression of pluripotency transcription factors in lungs of transgenic mice or in human NSCLC cell lines. Expression of SOX2 was reduced by shRNA knockdown, and response to erlotinib and cellular proliferation were assessed.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Induction of mutant EGFR in transgenic CCSP-rtTA/TetO-EGFR(L858R/T790M) mice correlated with increased OCT4 and SOX2 expression in lung tissue prior to tumor development. Established lung tumors retained SOX2 expression. To assess a role for SOX2 in tumorigenesis, a panel of NSCLC cell lines with activating EGFR mutations was assessed for SOX2 expression. Two of six cell lines with mutant EGFR showed detectable SOX2 levels, suggesting SOX2 expression did not correlate with EGFR mutation status. To assess the role of SOX2 in these cell lines, HCC827 and H1975 cells were infected with lentivirus containing SOX2 shRNA. Knockdown of SOX2 decreased proliferation in both cell lines and increased sensitivity to erlotinib in HCC827 cells. Because constitutive activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway is associated with EGFR TKI resistance, cells were treated with PI3K/AKT inhibitors and expression of SOX2 was examined. PI3K/Akt inhibitors decreased SOX2 expression in a time-dependent manner. These data suggest targeting SOX2 may provide therapeutic benefit in the subset of EGFR-mutant tumors with high constitutive levels of SOX2, and that until more direct means of inhibiting SOX2 are developed, PI3K/Akt inhibitors might be useful to inhibit SOX2 in EGFR TKI resistant tumors.

Zhou JJ, Deng XG, He XY, et al.
Knockdown of NANOG enhances chemosensitivity of liver cancer cells to doxorubicin by reducing MDR1 expression.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(6):2034-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is one of the major reasons for the failure of liver cancer chemotherapy, and its suppression may increase the efficacy of chemotherapy. NANOG plays a key role in the regulation of embryonic stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency. Recent studies reported that NANOG was abnormally expressed in several types of tumors, indicating that NANOG is related to tumor development. However, the correlation between NANOG and liver cancer chemoresistance remains uncertain. In this study, RNA interfere technology was employed to knock down NANOG expression in HepG2 human liver cancer cells. We found that the knockdown of NANOG expression in NANOG siRNA-transfected HepG2 cells resulted in decreased colony formation rate and cell migration compared to control HepG2 cells. In addition, HepG2 cells were treated with doxorubicin to evaluate the chemosensitivity to doxorubicin. We found that the doxorubicin sensitivity of HepG2 cells was increased with downregulation of NANOG expression. The expression of MDR1 at both mRNA and protein levels was decreased in HepG2 cells when NANOG was knocked down. These findings suggest that the knockdown of NANOG in HepG2 human cells resulted in decreased MDR1 expression and increased doxorubicin sensitivity, and NANOG could be used as a novel potential therapeutic target to reverse multidrug resistance of liver cancer.

Kantara C, O'Connell M, Sarkar S, et al.
Curcumin promotes autophagic survival of a subset of colon cancer stem cells, which are ablated by DCLK1-siRNA.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(9):2487-98 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Curcumin is known to induce apoptosis of cancer cells by different mechanisms, but its effects on cancer stem cells (CSC) have been less investigated. Here, we report that curcumin promotes the survival of DCLK1-positive colon CSCs, potentially confounding application of its anticancer properties. At optimal concentrations, curcumin greatly reduced expression levels of stem cell markers (DCLK1/CD44/ALDHA1/Lgr5/Nanog) in three-dimensional spheroid cultures and tumor xenografts derived from colon cancer cells. However, curcumin unexpectedly induced proliferation and autophagic survival of a subset of DCLK1-positive CSCs. Spheroid cultures were disintegrated by curcumin in vitro but regrew within 30 to 40 days of treatment, suggesting a survival benefit from autophagy, permitting long-term persistence of colorectal cancer. Notably, RNA interference-mediated silencing of DCLK1 triggered apoptotic cell death of colon cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, and abolished colorectal cancer survival in response to curcumin; combination of DCLK1-siRNA and curcumin dramatically reversed CSC phenotype, contributing to attenuation of the growth of spheroid cultures and tumor xenografts. Taken together, our findings confirm a role of DCLK1 in colon CSCs and highlight DCLK1 as a target to enhance antitumor properties of curcumin.

Williams JS, Xiao Y, Brownell I
Low pH reprograms somatic murine cells into pluripotent stem cells: a novel technique with therapeutic implications.
Cancer Biol Ther. 2014; 15(6):675-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2015 Related Publications
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are somatic cells that are reprogrammed into a state resembling embryonic stem cells (ESCs). iPSCs represent a promising technology with applications in cancer research, yet current methods used to generate iPSCs limit their translation to clinical use. In a recent Nature article, Obokata et al. detail a novel technique to generate pluripotent murine cells called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP). STAP eliminates the need for exogenous expression of reprogramming factors used in previous iPSC technologies, instead transforming somatic cells to pluripotency using physical and chemical stimuli. The authors found that STAP cells are generated at a 10-fold higher efficiency than prior iPSC technologies. STAP cells display several features of pluripotency, namely the expression of pluripotency-related genes (Oct4, Nanog, Sox2, Ecat1, Esg1, and Dax1), the ability to form teratomas in vivo, and the ability to produce viable, fertile mice in blastocyst complementation assays. Here, we review these findings on STAP and contrast it to previous iPSC technologies, while noting the potential of this method to generate autologous anti-tumor immune cells for cancer therapy.

Lai KP, Chen J, He M, et al.
Overexpression of ZFX confers self-renewal and chemoresistance properties in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(8):1790-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Zinc finger protein X-linked (ZFX) is a zinc finger protein of Zfy family, which is highly conserved in vertebrates. This transcriptional regulator is not only highly expressed in embryonic stem cells (ESC) and hematopoietic stem cells, but is also upregulated in a number of human cancers where it is functional related to cell proliferation and survival. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is highly aggressive cancer that commonly resistant to most chemotherapies and displays stemness characteristics. In this study, we examined the expression of ZFX in HCC and its possible functional implications in liver tumorigenesis. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed common overexpressions of ZFX in 51.8% HCC tumors when compared with their adjacent nonmalignant liver (n = 43/83; p = 0.004). Inline with the pluripotency role of ZFX, we found silencing of ZFX readily inhibited self-renewal capability (p = 0.0022), colony formation ability (p < 0.0001) and cell proliferation (p < 0.0001) through G0/G1 cell cycle arrest of HCC cells (p = 0.0038). In addition, suppression of ZFX sensitized HCC cells to chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin (p < 0.0001). Further investigations suggested that ZFX bind on the promoter of two important mediators, namely Nanog and SOX-2, activating their expressions in HCC (p < 0.0001). Moreover, in vivo xenograft study demonstrated that overexpression of ZFX would promote the tumor growth (p = 0.031). Taken together, our results show, for the first time, commonly overexpressions of ZFX in HCC, where it likely contributes to the stemness and pluripotent behavior of this highly malignant cancer.

Mosbech CH, Rechnitzer C, Brok JS, et al.
Recent advances in understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of pediatric germ cell tumors.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2014; 36(4):263-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pediatric germ cell tumors (GCTs) are rare neoplasms arising predominantly in the gonads and sacrococcygeal, mediastinal, and intracranial localizations. In this article, we review current knowledge of pathogenesis of pediatric GCTs, which differs from adult/adolescent GCTs. One distinctive feature is the absence of a progenitor stage, such as carcinoma in situ or gonadoblastoma, which are seen in adult/adolescent GCTs, except spermatocytic seminoma. The primordial germ cell (PGC) is the suggested origin of all GCTs, with variations in histology reflecting differentiation stage. Expression of pluripotency transcription factors OCT-3/4, NANOG, and AP-2γ in germinomas/seminomas/dysgerminomas is consistent with retaining a germ cell phenotype. Teratomas, in contrast, develop through a pathway of aberrant somatic differentiation of immature germ cells, and the yolk sac tumors and choriocarcinomas result from abnormal extraembryonic differentiation. In pediatric GCTs, origin is suggested at an earlier developmental stage because of predisposing genetic factors, although responsible genes remain largely unknown. Some extragonadal GCTs have been linked to overexpression of the KIT/KITLG system, allowing for survival of aberrantly migrated ectopic PGCs. Infant gonadal/sacrococcygeal GCTs may be caused by apoptosis-related pathways, consistent with an association with polymorphisms in BAK1. Although recent advances have identified candidate pathways, further effort is needed to answer central questions of pathogenesis of these fascinating tumors.

Wu CP, Du HD, Gong HL, et al.
Hypoxia promotes stem-like properties of laryngeal cancer cell lines by increasing the CD133+ stem cell fraction.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(5):1652-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Evidence indicates that a hypoxic micro-environment plays an essential role in the regulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs). However, whether hypoxia is able to regulate the stem-like biological properties of laryngeal cancer cells remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the influence of hypoxia on the stemness of two laryngeal cancer cell lines, Hep-2 and AMC-HN-8. We cultured the two cell lines under hypoxia and normoxia and examined the influence of hypoxia on the expression of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) and the cancer stem-like properties of these cells, including cell cycle distribution, expression of stem cell genes (OCT4, SOX2 and NANOG) and laryngeal CSC surface marker (CD133), proliferation, invasion, colony formation and sphere formation capacity. We determined that both of these cell lines, when maintained under hypoxic conditions, showed expanded cells in the G0/G1 phase, exhibited preferential expression of stem cell genes and CD133, and manifested upregulation of HIFs. When treated with hypoxia followed by normoxia exposure, the two cell lines exhibited enhanced capacities for proliferation, invasion, and sphere and colony formation compared with cells maintained consistently under normoxia. Our findings indicate that a hypoxic microenvironment may upgrade the stem-like biological properties of laryngeal cancer cell lines by the expansion of the CD133(+) stem cell fraction.

Islam M, Sharma S, Teknos TN
RhoC regulates cancer stem cells in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by overexpressing IL-6 and phosphorylation of STAT3.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e88527 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2015 Related Publications
In this study we investigated the correlation between RhoC expression and cancer stem cells (CSCs) formation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The inhibition of RhoC function was achieved using shRNA. The expression of stem cell surface markers, ALDH and CD44 were significantly low in two RhoC depleted HNSCC cell carcinoma cell lines. Furthermore, a striking reduction in tumorsphere formation was achieved in RhoC knockdown lines. The mRNA expression of RhoC in RhoC knockdown adherent and tumorspheres are dramatically down regulated as compared with the scrambled control. The mRNA expression of stem cell transcription factors; nanog, oct3/4 (Pouf1), and sox2 were significantly depleted in RhoC knockdown clones. Further, the phosphorylation of STAT3(ser727), and STAT3(tyr705) were significantly down regulated in RhoC knockdown clones. The overexpression of STAT3 in RhoC knockdown did not show any change in expression patterns of either-STAT3(tyr705) or stem cell transcription factors, signifying the role of RhoC in STAT3 activation and thus the expression of nanog, oct3/4 and sox2 in HNSCC. The expression of Inter leukin-6 (IL-6) in RhoC knockdown HNSCC cell lines was dramatically low as compared to the scrambled control. Further, we have shown a rescue in STAT3 phosphorylation by IL-6 stimulation in RhoC knockdown lines. This study is the first of its kind to establish the involvement of RhoC in STAT3 phosphorylation and hence in promoting the activation of core cancer stem cells (CSCs) transcription factors. These findings suggest that RhoC may be a novel target for HNSCC therapy.

Xu MH, Gao X, Luo D, et al.
EMT and acquisition of stem cell-like properties are involved in spontaneous formation of tumorigenic hybrids between lung cancer and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e87893 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2015 Related Publications
The most deadly phase in cancer progression is metastatic conversion. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process by which cancer cells acquire invasive and metastatic phenotypes. In order to spawn macroscopic metastases, disseminated cancer cells would seem to require self-renewal capability. However, the underlying mechanism defining these processes is poorly understood. One possible mechanism underlying metastasis is fusion between myeloid cells and cancer cells. In this study, we found that spontaneously-formed tumorigenic hybrids between bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and three different non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines contributed to highly malignant subpopulations with both EMT and stem cell-like properties. Hybrids lost their epithelial morphology and assumed a fibroblast-like appearance. Up-regulation of vimentin, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and fibronectin, and down-regulation of E-cadherin and pancytokeratin were observed in tumorigenic hybrids. These cells also exhibited increased expression of the stem cell marker prominin-1 (CD133) and over-expression of transcription factors OCT4, Nanog, BMI1, Notch1, ALDH1 as well as Sox2, all genes responsible for regulating and maintaining the stem cell phenotype. In addition, in spontaneously-formed tumorigenic hybrids, increased pneumosphere-forming capacity and tumor-forming ability in NOD/SCID mice were detectable. Thus, cell fusion between lung cancer cells and MSCs provides a nonmutational mechanism that could contribute to aberrant gene expression patterns and give rise to highly malignant subpopulations both capable of EMT and with properties of cancer stem cells (CSCs).

Ferrand N, Gnanapragasam A, Dorothee G, et al.
Loss of WISP2/CCN5 in estrogen-dependent MCF7 human breast cancer cells promotes a stem-like cell phenotype.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e87878 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2015 Related Publications
It has been proposed that the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in mammary epithelial cells and breast cancer cells generates stem cell features. WISP2 (Wnt-1-induced signaling protein-2) plays an important role in maintenance of the differentiated phenotype of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells and loss of WISP2 is associated with EMT. We now report that loss of WISP2 in MCF7 breast cancer cells can also promote the emergence of a cancer stem-like cell phenotype characterized by high expression of CD44, increased aldehyde dehydrogenase activity and mammosphere formation. Higher levels of the stem cell markers Nanog and Oct3/4 were observed in those mammospheres. In addition we show that low-cell inoculums are capable of tumor formation in the mammary fat pad of immunodeficient mice. Gene expression analysis show an enrichment of markers linked to stem cell function such as SOX9 and IGFBP7 which is linked to TGF-β inducible, SMAD3-dependent transcription. Taken together, our data demonstrate that WISP2 loss promotes both EMT and the stem-like cell phenotype.

Murakami A, Takahashi F, Nurwidya F, et al.
Hypoxia increases gefitinib-resistant lung cancer stem cells through the activation of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e86459 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2015 Related Publications
Accumulating evidence indicates that a small population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is involved in intrinsic resistance to cancer treatment. The hypoxic microenvironment is an important stem cell niche that promotes the persistence of CSCs in tumors. Our aim here was to elucidate the role of hypoxia and CSCs in the resistance to gefitinib in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with activating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation. NSCLC cell lines, PC9 and HCC827, which express the EGFR exon 19 deletion mutations, were exposed to high concentration of gefitinib under normoxic or hypoxic conditions. Seven days after gefitinib exposure, a small fraction of viable cells were detected, and these were referred to as "gefitinib-resistant persisters" (GRPs). CD133, Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, CXCR4, and ALDH1A1-all genes involved in stemness-were highly expressed in GRPs in PC9 and HCC827 cells, and PC9 GRPs exhibited a high potential for tumorigenicity in vivo. The expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) was also upregulated and IGF1 receptor (IGF1R) was activated on GRPs. Importantly, hypoxic exposure significantly increased sphere formation, reflecting the self-renewal capability, and the population of CD133- and Oct4-positive GRPs. Additionally, hypoxia upregulated IGF1 expression through hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α), and markedly promoted the activation of IGF1R on GRPs. Knockdown of IGF1 expression significantly reduced phosphorylated IGF1R-expressing GRPs under hypoxic conditions. Finally, inhibition of HIF1α or IGF1R by specific inhibitors significantly decreased the population of CD133- and Oct4-positive GRPs, which were increased by hypoxia in PC9 and HCC827 cells. Collectively, these findings suggest that hypoxia increased the population of lung CSCs resistant to gefitinib in EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC by activating IGF1R. Targeting the IGF1R pathway may be a promising strategy for overcoming gefitinib resistance in EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC induced by lung CSCs and microenvironment factors such as tumor hypoxia.

Basma H, Gunji Y, Iwasawa S, et al.
Reprogramming of COPD lung fibroblasts through formation of induced pluripotent stem cells.
Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2014; 306(6):L552-65 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2015 Related Publications
Reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) eliminates many epigenetic modifications that characterize differentiated cells. In this study, we tested whether functional differences between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and non-COPD fibroblasts could be reduced utilizing this approach. Primary fibroblasts from non-COPD and COPD patients were reprogrammed to iPSCs. Reprogrammed iPSCs were positive for oct3/4, nanog, and sox2, formed embryoid bodies in vitro, and induced teratomas in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice. Reprogrammed iPSCs were then differentiated into fibroblasts (non-COPD-i and COPD-i) and were assessed either functionally by chemotaxis and gel contraction or for gene expression by microarrays and compared with their corresponding primary fibroblasts. Primary COPD fibroblasts contracted three-dimensional collagen gels and migrated toward fibronectin less robustly than non-COPD fibroblasts. In contrast, redifferentiated fibroblasts from iPSCs derived from the non-COPD and COPD fibroblasts were similar in response in both functional assays. Microarray analysis identified 1,881 genes that were differentially expressed between primary COPD and non-COPD fibroblasts, with 605 genes differing by more than twofold. After redifferentiation, 112 genes were differentially expressed between COPD-i and non-COPD-i with only three genes by more than twofold. Similar findings were observed with microRNA (miRNA) expression: 56 miRNAs were differentially expressed between non-COPD and COPD primary cells; after redifferentiation, only 3 miRNAs were differentially expressed between non-COPD-i and COPD-i fibroblasts. Interestingly, of the 605 genes that were differentially expressed between COPD and non-COPD fibroblasts, 293 genes were changed toward control after redifferentiation. In conclusion, functional and epigenetic alterations of COPD fibroblasts can be reprogrammed through formation of iPSCs.

Chu GC, Zhau HE, Wang R, et al.
RANK- and c-Met-mediated signal network promotes prostate cancer metastatic colonization.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2014; 21(2):311-26 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2015 Related Publications
Prostate cancer (PCa) metastasis to bone is lethal and there is no adequate animal model for studying the mechanisms underlying the metastatic process. Here, we report that receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) expressed by PCa cells consistently induced colonization or metastasis to bone in animal models. RANK-mediated signaling established a premetastatic niche through a feed-forward loop, involving the induction of RANKL and c-Met, but repression of androgen receptor (AR) expression and AR signaling pathways. Site-directed mutagenesis and transcription factor (TF) deletion/interference assays identified common TF complexes, c-Myc/Max, and AP4 as critical regulatory nodes. RANKL-RANK signaling activated a number of master regulator TFs that control the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (Twist1, Slug, Zeb1, and Zeb2), stem cell properties (Sox2, Myc, Oct3/4, and Nanog), neuroendocrine differentiation (Sox9, HIF1α, and FoxA2), and osteomimicry (c-Myc/Max, Sox2, Sox9, HIF1α, and Runx2). Abrogating RANK or its downstream c-Myc/Max or c-Met signaling network minimized or abolished skeletal metastasis in mice. RANKL-expressing LNCaP cells recruited and induced neighboring non metastatic LNCaP cells to express RANKL, c-Met/activated c-Met, while downregulating AR expression. These initially non-metastatic cells, once retrieved from the tumors, acquired the potential to colonize and grow in bone. These findings identify a novel mechanism of tumor growth in bone that involves tumor cell reprogramming via RANK-RANKL signaling, as well as a form of signal amplification that mediates recruitment and stable transformation of non-metastatic bystander dormant cells.

Gkountela S, Li Z, Chin CJ, et al.
PRMT5 is required for human embryonic stem cell proliferation but not pluripotency.
Stem Cell Rev. 2014; 10(2):230-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are critical in vitro tools for understanding mechanisms that regulate lineage differentiation in the human embryo as well as a potentially unlimited supply of stem cells for regenerative medicine. Pluripotent human and mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from the inner cell mass of blastocysts share a similar transcription factor network to maintain pluripotency and self-renewal, yet there are considerable molecular differences reflecting the diverse environments in which mouse and human ESCs are derived. In the current study we evaluated the role of Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) in human ESC (hESC) self-renewal and pluripotency given its critical role in safeguarding mouse ESC pluripotency. Unlike the mouse, we discovered that PRMT5 has no role in hESC pluripotency. Using microarray analysis we discovered that a significant depletion in PRMT5 RNA and protein from hESCs changed the expression of only 78 genes, with the majority being repressed. Functionally, we discovered that depletion of PRMT5 had no effect on expression of OCT4, NANOG or SOX2, and did not prevent teratoma formation. Instead, we show that PRMT5 functions in hESCs to regulate proliferation in the self-renewing state by regulating the fraction of cells in Gap 1 (G1) of the cell cycle and increasing expression of the G1 cell cycle inhibitor P57. Taken together our data unveils a distinct role for PRMT5 in hESCs and identifies P57 as new target.

Yu CH, Yu CC
Photodynamic therapy with 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) impairs tumor initiating and chemo-resistance property in head and neck cancer-derived cancer stem cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e87129 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Head and neck cancer (HNC) ranks the fourth leading malignancy and cancer death in male population in Taiwan. Despite recent therapeutic advances, the prognosis for HNC patients is still dismal. New strategies are urgently needed to improve the chemosensitization to conventional chemotherapeutic drugs and clinical responses of HNC patients. Studies have demonstrated that topical 5-aminolevulinic acid-mediated photodynamic therapy (ALA-PDT) is being used in the treatment of various human premalignant and malignant lesions with some encouraging clinical outcomes. However, the molecular mechanisms of ALA-PDT in the therapeutic effect in HNC tumorigenesis and whether ALA-PDT as chemosensitizer for HNC treatment remain unclear. Accumulating data support cancer stem cells (CSCs) contributes chemo-resistance in HNC. Based on the previous studies, the purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of ALA-PDT on CSCs and chemosensitization property in HNC.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING: CSCs marker ALDH1 activity of HNC cells with ALA-PDT treatment as assessed by the Aldefluor assay flow cytometry analysis. Secondary Sphere-forming self-renewal, stemness markers expression, and invasiveness of HNC-CSCs with ALA-PDT treatment were presented. We observed that the treatment of ALA-PDT significantly down-regulated the ALDH1 activity and CD44 positivity of HNC-CSCs. Moreover, ALA-PDT reduced self-renewal property and stemness signatures expression (Oct4 and Nanog) in sphere-forming HNC-CSCs. ALA-PDT sensitized highly tumorigenic HNC-CSCs to conventional chemotherapies. Lastly, synergistic effect of ALA-PDT and Cisplatin treatment attenuated invasiveness/colongenicity property in HNC-CSCs.
CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results provide insights into the clinical prospect of ALA-PDT as a potential chemo-adjuvant therapy against head and neck cancer through eliminating CSCs property.

Zhou JJ, Chen RF, Deng XG, et al.
Hepatitis C virus core protein regulates NANOG expression via the stat3 pathway.
FEBS Lett. 2014; 588(4):566-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
HCV Core plays a role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Aberrant expression of NANOG has been observed in many types of human malignancies. However, relationship between Core and NANOG has not been clarified. In this study, we found that Core is capable of up-regulating NANOG expression. Core-induced NANOG expression was accompanied by enforced expression of phosphorylated stat3 protein and was attenuated by inhibition of stat3 phosphorylation. ChIP showed that phosphorylated stat3 directly binds to the NANOG promoter. Core-induced NANOG expression resulted in enhanced cell growth and cell cycle progression. Knockdown of NANOG blocked the cell cycle at the G0/G1 phases and inhibited the cyclin D1 expression. Our findings provide a new insight into the mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis by HCV infection.

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