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Differentiation of human osteosarcoma 3AB-OS stem-like cells in derivatives of the three primary germ layers as an useful in vitro model to develop several purposes

  • Autori: Di Fiore, R; Drago Ferrante, R; D’Anneo, A; De Blasio, A; Santulli, A; Messina, C; Carlisi, D; Tesoriere, G; Vento, R
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2013
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


A number of solid tumours contains a distinct subpopulation of cells, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs) which represent the source for tissue renewal and hold malignant potential and which would be responsible of therapy resistance. Today, the winning goal in cancer research would be to find drugs to kill both cancer cell and cancer stem cells, while sparing normal cells. Osteosarcoma is an aggressive pediatric tumor of growing bones that, despite surgery and chemotherapy, is prone to relapse. We have recently selected from human osteosarcoma MG63 cells a cancer stem-like cell line (3AB-OS), which has unlimited proliferative potential, high levels of stemness-related markers, and in vivo tumor-forming capacity in xenograft assays. Here, we have shown that 3AB-OS cells can differentiate in vitro into endoderm-, mesoderm- and ectoderm-derived lineages. Cell differentiation is morphological, molecular and functional. We propose that this model system of 3AB-OS differentiation in vitro might have a number of useful purposes, among which the study of molecular mechanisms of osteosarcoma origin, and the analysis of factors involved in specification of the various cell lineages. We still do not know either what are the shared and distinguishing characters between CSCs and normal stem cells, or what is the reason why the cancer stem cells, like the normal stem cells, have the ability to differentiate toward the derivatives of the primary germ layers. It is possible that each of the differentiation capability may be exploited by CSCs to supply their needs of growing and surviving in hostile microenvironment.