Ablation of breast cancer stem cells with radiation.
Transl Oncol. 2011 Aug ;4(4):227-33. Epub 2011 Aug 1. PMID: 21804918
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tumor radioresistance leads to recurrence after radiation therapy. The radioresistant phenotype has been hypothesized to reside in the cancer stem cell (CSC) component of breast and other tumors and is considered to be an inherent property of CSC. In this study, we assessed the radiation resistance of breast CSCs using early passaged, patient-derived xenografts from two separate patients. We found a patient-derived tumor in which the CSC population was rapidly depleted 2 weeks after treatment with radiation, based on CD44(+) CD24(-) lin(-) phenotype and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 immunofluorescence, suggesting sensitivity to radiotherapy. The reduction in CSCs according to phenotypic markers was accompanied by a decrease in functional CSC activity measured by tumor sphere frequency and the ability to form tumors in mice. In contrast, another patient tumor sample displayed enrichment of CSC after irradiation, signifying radioresistance, in agreement with others. CSC response to radiation did not correlate with the level of reactive oxygen species in CSC versus non-CSC. These findings demonstrate that not all breast tumor CSCs are radioresistant and suggest a mechanism for the observed variability in breast cancer local recurrence.