Tumorspheres derived from prostate cancer cells possess chemoresistant and cancer stem cell properties

  • Linlin Zhang
  • Min Jiao
  • Lei Li
  • Dapeng Wu
  • Kaijie Wu
  • Xiang Li
  • Guodong Zhu
  • Qiang Dang
  • Xinyang Wang
  • Jer-Tsong Hsieh
  • Dalin HeEmail author
Original Paper



Prostate cancer (PCa) becomes lethal when cancer cells develop into castration-resistant PCa, which remains incurable because of the poor understanding of their cell origin and characteristics. We aim to investigate the potential role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in PCa progression.


Human PCa cell lines (LNCaP, 22RV1, DU145 and PC-3) were plated in serum-free suspension culture system allowed for tumorsphere forming. To evaluate the CSC characteristics of tumorspheres, the self-renewal, chemoresistance, tumorigenicity of the PCa tumorsphere cells, and the expression levels of stemness-related proteins in the PCa tumorsphere cells were assessed, comparing with the parental adherent cells.


Tumorsphere cells from PCa cell lines displayed enhanced self-renewal, chemoresistance and tumor-initiating capacity when compared with the adherent cells. Additionally, these cells overexpressed CSC marker CD44. Also, the tumorsphere cells expressed high levels of “stemness” genes Gli1, ABCG2 and Bmi-1.


Collectively, these data demonstrated that tumorspheres derived from PCa cells possess chemoresistant and CSC properties. Our study suggests that the identification of PCa CSCs could provide new insight into the lethal phenotype of PCa and therapeutic implications.


Prostate cancer Cancer stem cell Chemoresistance Tumorsphere Stemness 



This study was supported by a grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30801152 to LL Zhang).

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linlin Zhang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Min Jiao
    • 2
  • Lei Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dapeng Wu
    • 1
  • Kaijie Wu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Xiang Li
    • 1
  • Guodong Zhu
    • 1
  • Qiang Dang
    • 1
  • Xinyang Wang
    • 1
  • Jer-Tsong Hsieh
    • 4
  • Dalin He
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of UrologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of OncologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  3. 3.Oncological Research Lab, Key Laboratory of Environment and Genes Related to DiseasesMinistry of Education of People’s Republic of ChinaXi’anChina
  4. 4.Department of UrologyUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA

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