Gastric carcinoma is the second most common cause of death from cancer in the world. The isolation and characterization of tumorigenic gastric cancer cells may help to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic methods. Although there is increasing evidence that cancer stem cell, which is responsible for tumor formation and maintenance, exists in a wide variety of solid tumors, this has not been extensively explored in gastric cancer. We report here the isolation and in vitro propagation of gastric cancer-initiating cells from human primary tumor xenografts. The isolated tumor cells can form spheroid colonies in defined serum free medium. Subcutaneous injection of as few as 100 sphere-forming cells readily reproduced the original tumor in immunodeficient mice. Such tumors were serially transplanted for several generations and the cultured cells grew exponentially for more than 40 passages in vitro as undifferentiated tumor spheres. Interestingly, CD44, recently reported as a gastric cancer stem cell surface marker, was positive in both cultured cells and in engrafted tumor tissues. In vitro and in vivo drug sensitivity assays on these sphere-forming cells are currently ongoing.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2010 Apr 17-21; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2010;70(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 4301.