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Cancer gene therapy

Isolation and characterization of progenitor mesenchymal cells in human pituitary tumors.


PMID 25525036

Abstract

The Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) theory suggests that genetic alterations in stem cells are the direct cause for cancer. The evidence for a CSC population that results in pituitary tumors is poor. Some studies report the isolation of CSCs, but a deep characterization of the stemness of these cells is lacking. Here, we report the isolation and detailed characterization of progenitor mesenchymal cells (PMCs) from both growth hormone-secreting (GH(+)) and non-secreting (NS) pituitary adenomas, determining the immunophenotype, the expression of genes related to stemness or to pituitary hormone cell types, and the differentiative potential towards osteo-, chondro- and adipogenic lineages. Finally, the expression of CD133, known as a marker for CSCs in other tumors, was analyzed. Isolated cells, both from GH(+) and NS tumors, satisfy all the criteria for the identification of PMCs and express known stem cell markers (OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, NANOG), but do not express markers of pituitary hormone cell types (PITX2, PROP1, PIT1). Finally, PMCs express CD133. We demonstrated that pituitary tumors contain a stem cell population that can generate cell types characteristic of mesenchymal stem cells, and express CD133, which is associated with CSCs in other tumors.