American journal of translational research

Enrichment and characterization of cancer stem-like cells in ultra-low concentration of serum and non-adhesive culture system.

PMID 29887968


Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play important roles in tumor initiation, metastasis, and progression. They are also mainly responsible for high treatment failure rates. Identification and characterization of CSCs are crucial for facilitating the detection, prevention, or therapy of cancer. Great efforts have been paid to develop an effective method and the ideal method for CSCs research is still in the going. In our study, we created an ultra-low concentration of serum and non-adhesive (ULCSN) culture system to enrich CSCs from murine lewis lung cancer cell line LL/2 with cell spheres structure and characterize the LL/2 CSCs properties. Their characteristics were investigated through colony formation, spheres formation, chemoresistance, flow cytometry for putative stem cell markers, such as CD133, CD34 and CD45, immunofluorescence staining and tumor initiation capacity in vivo. Tumor spheres were formed within 7-10 days under the condition of ULCSN culture system. Compared with adherent parental LL/2 cells, the colony capacity, chemo-resistance, and expression of stem cell markers increased significantly in addition to tumor-initiating capability in the tumor sphere cells. Using the ULCSN culture system, an available isolation method of lewis lung CSCs was established, which is simple, effective, and inexpensive compared with the cytokines attachment serum free culture method. The stem cell properties of the tumor sphere LL/2 cells reflected the CSCs phenotypes. We developed a useful CSCs model for basic and pre-clinical studies for lung cancer and other types of cancer.