Model May Help Point to Lung Cancer Stem Cells

-- Eric Metcalf

Monday, June 22, 2009

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- A model using malignant pleural effusions appears useful in investigating intratumoral heterogeneity and isolating candidate lung cancer stem cells, according to research published June 12 in PLoS One.

Saroj K. Basak, Ph.D., of the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues write that current models of lung cancer offer limited study of the tumor heterogeneity that may contribute to the resistance of lung cancer to present therapies. The researchers took malignant pleural effusion specimens from subjects using large volume thoracenteses.

The primary culture model, using the extracted stromal cells along with the malignant pleural effusion fluid component, simulated the tumor microenvironment found in the body. In this type of culture, candidate cancer stem cells persist over time. The researchers were able to live sort candidate lung cancer stem cells from these primary cultures -- using surface markers or differences in xenobiotic metabolism -- to investigate their phenotype in different bioassays.

"In summary, our results argue for the ongoing development of the malignant pleural effusion-primary culture model, and set the stage for correlating observed phenotypic differences with distinctive molecular signatures. Our hope is that by characterizing the molecular basis for specific tumor endophenotypes in malignant pleural effusions, we will be able to better design rational therapeutic combinations that are more predictive of clinical efficacy," the authors conclude.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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