alexa Delineation of breast cancer cell hierarchy identifies the subset responsible for dormancy
Genetics & Molecular Biology

Genetics & Molecular Biology

Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy

Author(s): Shyam A Patel, Shakti H Ramkissoon, Margarette Bryan, Gabriela Dontu, Prem S Patel, Sohrab Amiri Sharon R Pine, Pranela Rameshwar

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The bone marrow (BM) is a major organ of breast cancer (BC) dormancy and a common source of BC resurgence. Gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) between BC cells (BCCs) and BM stroma facilitates dormancy. This study reports on a hierarchy of BCCs with the most immature subset (Oct4(hi)/CD44(hi/med)/CD24(-/+)) demonstrating chemoresistance, dormancy, and stem cell properties: self-renewal, serial passaging ability, cycling quiescence, long doubling time, asymmetric division, high metastatic and invasive capability. In vitro and in vivo studies indicated that this subset was responsible for GJIC with BM stroma. Similar BCCs were detected in the blood of patients despite aggressive treatment and in a patient with a relatively large tumor but no lymph node involvement. In brief, these findings identified a novel BCC subset with stem cell properties, with preference for dormancy and in the circulation of patients. The findings establish a working cellular hierarchy of BCCs based on phenotype and functions.

This article was published in Sci Rep and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy

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