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Identification of a subpopulation of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells with cancer stem-like cell properties by high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity

Authors

  • Fenggang Yu PhD,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Adrian Chong Nyi Sim PhD,

    1. Department of Microbiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Chunwei Li PhD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Yingying Li MD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Xuening Zhao PhD,

    1. Department of General Health Care II, Provincial Hospital affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, China
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  • De-Yun Wang MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Kwok Seng Loh MD

    1. Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    2. Head and Neck Tumor Group, National Cancer Institute of Singapore, Head and Neck Surgery, National University Health System, Singapore
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  • Presented as poster at the XIV International Rhinologic Society and XXX International Symposium on Infection and Allergy of the Nose (IRS/ISIAN 2011), Tokyo, Japan, September 20–23, 2011.

  • f.y., d.w., k.s.l. conceived and designed the experiments, analyzed the data, and wrote the article. f.y., a.s., c.l., y.l., x.z. performed the experiments.

  • This work was supported by a grant from the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, (NCIS) Centre Grant.

  • The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Send correspondence to Fenggang Yu, PhD, and De-Yun Wang, MD, Department of Otolaryngology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 1 E Kent Ridge Road, Level 7, Singapore 119228. E-mail: entyf@nus.edu.sg and entwdy@nus.edu.sg

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis

Cancer stem cells have been reported as a new therapeutic target in many cancers, but their existence in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is largely unknown. This study was conducted to determine cancer stem-like cells in NPC cell line.

Study Design

Basic science experimental study.

Methods

Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity, a putative functional marker for cancer stem cells, was assessed in Epstein-Barr virus-associated NPC cell line C666-1 cells. The ability of cells with high and low ALDH activity to proliferate, resist therapy, and initiate tumor formation was compared.

Results

Enrichment of cancer stem-like cells (with high ALDH activity) in C666-1 was associated with a significantly greater ability to proliferate, be clonogenic, resist chemotherapy drugs and radiation, reconstitute a heterogeneous population, and express pluripotent markers. Furthermore, subcutaneous injection of these cells into immunodeficient nude mice resulted in a tendency of tumor formation at a higher rate as compared to cells with low ALDH activity.

Conclusions

These results provide evidence for the existence of cancer stem-like cells in the NPC cell line C666-1 cells. Laryngoscope, 123:1903–1911, 2013

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