Transformation of epithelial ovarian cancer stemlike cells into mesenchymal lineage via EMT results in cellular heterogeneity and supports tumor engraftment.
Ovarian cancers are heterogeneous and contain stemlike cells that are able to self-renew and are responsible for sustained tumor growth. Metastasis in the peritoneal cavity occurs more frequently in ovarian cancer than in other malignancies, but the underlying mechanism remains largely unknown. We have identified that ovarian cancer stemlike cells (CSCs), which were defined as side population (SP) cells, were present in patients' ascitic fluid and mesenchymally transformed cell lines, ES-2 and HO-8910PM. SP cells, which were sorted from both cell lines and implanted into immunocompromised mice, were localized to the xenografted tumor boundary. In addition, SP cells exhibited an epithelial phenotype and showed a distinct gene expression profile with reduced expression of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), indicating that SP cells exert an important role in ovarian cancer progression on the basis of their delicate interaction with the surrounding microenvironment and anatomical localization in tumors. In contrast, non-SP cells exhibited a more mesenchymal phenotype and showed more increased invasive potential than SP cells. This heterogeneity was observed as an endogenous transformation via the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process. Inhibition of the EMT process by Snail1 silencing reduced the SP cell frequency, and affected their invasive capacity and engraftment. These findings illustrate the interplay between epithelial ovarian CSCs and the EMT, and exert a link to explain tumor heterogeneity and its necessity for ovarian cancer maintenance, metastasis and progression.
Department of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
SourceMolecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.) 18: 2012 pg 1197-208
Cell Line, Tumor
Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
Gene Expression Profiling
Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
Mice, Inbred BALB C
Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial
Neoplastic Stem Cells
Transforming Growth Factor beta1
Tumor Markers, Biological
Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't