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Bmi1-positive cells in the lingual epithelium could serve as cancer stem cells in tongue cancer.


ABSTRACT: We recently reported that the polycomb complex protein Bmi1 is a marker for lingual epithelial stem cells (LESCs), which are involved in the long-term maintenance of lingual epithelial tissue in the physiological state. However, the precise role of LESCs in generating tongue tumors and Bmi1-positive cell lineage dynamics in tongue cancers are unclear. Here, using a mouse model of chemically (4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide: 4-NQO) induced tongue cancer and the multicolor lineage tracing method, we found that each unit of the tumor was generated by a single cell and that the assembly of such cells formed a polyclonal tumor. Although many Bmi1-positive cells within the tongue cancer specimens failed to proliferate, some proliferated continuously and supplied tumor cells to the surrounding area. This process eventually led to the formation of areas derived from single cells after 1-3 months, as determined using the multicolor lineage tracing method, indicating that such cells could serve as cancer stem cells. These results indicate that LESCs could serve as the origin for tongue cancer and that cancer stem cells are present in tongue tumors.

SUBMITTER: Tanaka T 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5177893 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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