Identification and expansion of human osteosarcoma-cancer-stem cells by long-term 3-aminobenzamide treatment

Riccardo Di Fiore, Andrea Santulli, Rosa Drago Ferrante, Michela Giuliano, Anna De Blasio, Concetta Messina, Giuseppe Pirozzi, Virginia Tirino, Giovanni Tesoriere, Renza Vento

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel cancer stem-like cell line (3AB-OS), expressing a number of pluripotent stem cell markers, was irreversibly selected from human osteosarcoma MG-63 cells by long-term treatment (100 days) with 3-aminobenzamide (3AB). 3AB-OS cells are a heterogeneous and stable cell population composed by three types of fibroblastoid cells, spindle-shaped, polygonal-shaped, and rounded-shaped. With respect to MG-63 cells, 3AB-OS cells are extremely smaller, possess a much greater capacity to form spheres, a stronger self-renewal ability and much higher levels of cell cycle markers which account for G1-S/G2-M phases progression. Differently from MG-63 cells, 3AB-OS cells can be reseeded unlimitedly without losing their proliferative potential. They show an ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCG2-dependent phenotype with high drug efflux capacity, and a strong positivity for CD133, marker for pluripotent stem cells, which are almost unmeasurable in MG-63 cells. 3AB-OS cells are much less committed to osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation than MG-63 cells and highly express genes required for maintaining stem cell state (Oct3/4, hTERT, nucleostemin, Nanog) and for inhibiting apoptosis (HIF-1α, FLIP-L, Bcl-2, XIAP, IAPs, and survivin). 3AB-OS may be a novel tumor cell line useful for investigating the mechanisms by which stem cells enrichment may be induced in a tumor cell line. The identification of a subpopulation of cancer stem cells that drives tumorigenesis and chemoresistance in osteosarcoma may lead to prognosis and optimal therapy determination. Expression patterns of stem cell markers, especially CD133 and ABCG2, may indicate the undifferentiated state of osteosarcoma tumors, and may correlate with unfavorable prognosis in the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-313
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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