Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 470253, 8 pages
Research Article

Lung Cancer Stem Cell Lose Their Stemness Default State after Exposure to Microgravity

1Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Magna Graecia University, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy
2Department of Surgery “P.Valdoni,” Sapienza University, 00161 Rome, Italy
3Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University, 00161 Rome, Italy
4IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Fondazione G. Pascale, 80131 Napoli, Italy
5Azienda Ospedaliera S. Andrea, 00189 Rome, Italy
6Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 13 May 2014; Revised 14 July 2014; Accepted 8 August 2014; Published 7 September 2014

Academic Editor: Anton M. Jetten

Copyright © 2014 Maria Elena Pisanu 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.


Microgravity influences cell differentiation by modifying the morphogenetic field in which stem cells are embedded. Preliminary data showed indeed that stem cells are committed to selective differentiation when exposed to real or simulated microgravity. Our study provides evidence that a similar event occurs when cancer stem cells (CSCs) are cultured in microgravity. In the same time, a significant increase in apoptosis was recorded: those data point out that microgravity rescues CSCs from their relative quiescent state, inducing CSCs to lose their stemness features, as documented by the decrease in ALDH and the downregulation of both Nanog and Oct-4 genes. Those traits were stably acquired and preserved by CSCs when cells were placed again on a 1 g field. Studies conducted in microgravity on CSCs may improve our understanding of the fundamental role exerted by biophysical forces in cancer cell growth and function.