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Cancers 2016, 8(1), 7; doi:10.3390/cancers8010007

Profiling the Behavior of Distinct Populations of Head and Neck Cancer Stem Cells

1
Laboratory of Epithelial Biology, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2
Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
3
Department of Oral Pathology, School of Dentistry, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, SP 05508-000, Brazil
4
Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vita Golubovskaya
Received: 23 October 2015 / Revised: 13 December 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 4 January 2016
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Abstract

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a subpopulation of tumor cells endowed with self-renewal properties and the capacity to dynamically adapt to physiological changes that occur in the tumor microenvironment. CSCs play a central role in resistance to therapy and long-term disease recurrence. Better characterization and understanding of the available in vitro tools to study the biology of CSCs will improve our knowledge of the processes underlying tumor response to therapy, and will help in the screening and development of novel strategies targeting CSCs. We investigated the behavior of different populations of head and neck CSCs grown under ultra-low adhesion conditions. We found that invasion and adhesion differ among tumorsphere subtypes (holospheres, merospheres and paraspheres), and their tumor cell progeny also harbor distinct self-renewal and clonogenic potentials. Furthermore, holospheres contained higher numbers of head and neck CSCs, as detected by the CD44 cancer stem cell marker and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) enzymatic activity. In addition, holospheres showed reduced proliferation (Ki67), hypoacetylation of histones, and increased expression of the BMI-1 epithelial stem cell marker, suggesting activation of stem cell programs. Collectively, our results suggest that holospheres enrich a specific population of CSCs with enhanced “stemness” and invasive potential. View Full-Text
Keywords: HNSCC; CSC; cancer initiating cells; spheres; holoclones; meroclones; paraclones; ALDH; BMI-1; histone HNSCC; CSC; cancer initiating cells; spheres; holoclones; meroclones; paraclones; ALDH; BMI-1; histone
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Almeida, L.O.; Guimarães, D.M.; Squarize, C.H.; Castilho, R.M. Profiling the Behavior of Distinct Populations of Head and Neck Cancer Stem Cells. Cancers 2016, 8, 7.

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