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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 510905, 11 pages
Research Article

Ovarian and Breast Cancer Spheres Are Similar in Transcriptomic Features and Sensitive to Fenretinide

1Key Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, Institute of Health Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTU-SM), 225 Chong-Qing South Road, Shanghai 200025, China
2Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received 17 April 2013; Revised 16 August 2013; Accepted 18 August 2013

Academic Editor: George Perry

Copyright © 2013 Haiwei Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are resistant to chemotherapy and are ability to regenerate cancer cell populations, thus attracting much attention in cancer research. In this report, we first demonstrated that sphere cells from ovarian cancer cell line A2780 shared many features of CSCs, such as resistance to cisplatin and able to initiate tumors in an efficient manner. Then, we conducted cDNA microarray analysis on spheres from ovarian A2780 cells, and from breast MCF7 and SUM159 cells, and found that molecular pathways underlying spheres from these cancer cell lines were similar to a large extent, suggesting that similar mechanisms are involved in the genesis of CSCs in both ovarian and breast cancer types. In addition, we showed that spheres from these cancer types were highly sensitive to fenretinide, a stimulus of oxidative stress-mediated apoptosis in cancer cells. Thus, our results not only provide important insights into mechanisms underlying CSCs in ovarian and breast cancer, but also lead to the development of more sophisticated protocols of cancer therapy in near future.