Response to Stress in Early Tumor Colonization Modulates Switching of CD133-Positive and CD133-Negative Subpopulations in a Human Metastatic Colon Cancer Cell Line, SW620

Chih Sin Hsu, Chien Yi Tung, Chih Yung Yang, Chi Hung Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to the cancer stem cell (CSC) model, higher CD133 expression in tumor tissue is associated with metastasis and poor prognosis in colon cancer. As such, the CD133-positive (CD133+) subpopulation of cancer cells is believed to play a central role in tumor development and metastatic progression. Although CD133+ cells are believed to display more CSC-like behavior and be solely responsible for tumor colonization, recent research indicates that CD133- cells from metastatic colon tumors not only also possess colonization capacity but also promote the growth of larger tumors in a mouse model than CD133+ cells, suggesting that an alternative mechanism of metastasis exists. This study investigated this possibility by examining the cell viability, tumorigenicity, and proliferation and growth capacity of the CD133+ and CD133- subpopulations of the SW620 cell line, a human metastatic colon cancer cell line, in both an in vitro cell model and an in vivo mouse model. While both SW620 CD133- and SW620CD133+ cells were found to engage in bidirectional cell-type switching in reaction to exposure to environmental stressors, including hypoxia, a cell adhesion-free environment, and extracellular matrix stimulation, both in vitro and in vivo, CD133- cells were found to have a growth advantage during early colonization due to their greater resistance to proliferation inhibition. Based on these findings, a hypothetical model in which colon cancer cells engage in cell-type switching in reaction to exposure to environmental stressors is proposed. Such switching may provide a survival advantage during early colonization, as well as that explain previous conflicting observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61133
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Apr 2013

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