Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 1075–1082 | Cite as

Bufalin inhibits the differentiation and proliferation of human osteosarcoma cell line hMG63-derived cancer stem cells

  • Yuewen ChangEmail author
  • Yongfang Zhao
  • Hongsheng Zhan
  • Xiaoen Wei
  • Tianjin Liu
  • Bo Zheng
Research Article


Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play an important role in drug resistance of tumor and are responsible for high recurrence rates. Agents that can suppress the proliferation and differentiation of CSCs would provide new opportunity to fight against tumor recurrence. In this study, we developed a new strategy to enrich CSCs in human osteosarcoma cell line hMG63. Using these CSCs as model, we tested the effect of bufalin, a traditional Chinese medicine, on the proliferation and differentiation of CSCs. hMG63 cells were cultured in poly-HEMA-treated dish and cancer stem cell-specific medium. In this nonadhesive culture system, hMG63 formed spheres, which were then collected and injected into the immunodeficient mice. Cisplatin was administered every 3 days for five times. The enriched xenograft tumors were cultured in cancer stem cell-specific medium again to form tumor spheres. Expression of cancer stem cell markers of these cells was measured by flow cytometry. These cells were then treated with bufalin, and the proliferation and differentiation ability were indicated by the expression level of molecular markers and the formation of sphere again in vitro. We obtained a low CD133+/CD44 cell population with high-level stem cell marker. When treated with bufalin, the sphere could not get attached to the flask and failed to differentiate, which was indicated by the stable expression of stem cell marker CD133 and OCT-4 in the condition permissive to differentiation. Treatment of bufalin also suppressed the single cells isolated from the sphere to form sphere again in the nonadhesive culture system, and a decreased expression of proliferation marker Ki67 was also detected in these cells. Sphere-formed and chemoresistant colon xenograft tumors in immunodeficient mice could enrich cancer stem cell population. Bufalin could inhibit proliferation and differentiation of CSCs.


Sphere culture Cancer stem cells Osteosarcoma Bufalin 



This work is supported by grant from Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (13ZR1442500).


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuewen Chang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yongfang Zhao
    • 1
  • Hongsheng Zhan
    • 1
  • Xiaoen Wei
    • 1
  • Tianjin Liu
    • 2
  • Bo Zheng
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedics and TraumatologyShuguang Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai GeneCell Biological Technology Co., LTDShanghaiChina

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