164 - Isolation, proliferation, and phenotyping of cancer stem cells from primary breast cancers: a model for evaluating the response to anti-tumor drugs

Date 28 September 2012
Event ESMO Congress 2012
Session Publication Only
Topics Breast Cancer
Translational Research
Basic Principles in the Management and Treatment (of cancer)
Presenter MAHER Salamoon
Authors M.I. Salamoon1, M. Al Jamali2, L. Youcef2, I. Kasem3, M. Bachour1
  • 1Medical Oncology, Al Bairouni University Hospital, 011 - Damascus/SY
  • 2Clinical Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, 011 - Damascus/SY
  • 3Biotech, Technical Institution, 011 - Damascus/SY



Recent years have witnessed an increasing interest in the role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) because of selfrenewal, promoting metastasis, and resisting radio- and chemotherapies. In addition, the high levels of CSCs in tumor mass were linked to a poor prognosis, relapse and metastasis. For the former reasons SCS is currently a main focus of cancer research.


This study aims at establishing a CSC cellular model, which might enable the testing of new chemotherapeutics and/or combinatorial therapies for currently used agents.

Material and methods

We culture tumor cells obtained from primary breast tumors of Syrian patients. This was followed by isolating stem cell population existing in the primary tumor by means of serial dilution of cells, and the characterization of these cells by flow cytometry based on their morphology, surface antigen profile (CD44 + /high/CD24-/low), and their growth and enrichment in both adherent and non-adherent conditions. Finally, the viability of CSCs was tested after freezing cells in liquid nitrogen.

Results and discussion

In this study, we were able to isolate CSCs from primary breast tumor with high purity exceeding 90%, and we showed their CSC characteristics, which included: i) CD44high/CD24-/low profile, ii) their ability to form tumorspheres in non-adherent/suspension conditions, iii) and their ability of resisting chemotherapeutic agents in comparison with non-purified/non-stem breast tumor cells.


Our results confirm the establishment of a cellular model representing the characteristics of cancer stem cell population. This breast CSC model could be useful in conducting research enabling the identification of responsible mechanisms behind breast cancer resistance to chemotherapeutics. In addition, this model might enable the examining of new combinatorial therapeutics by evaluating the effects of drug combinations targeting the different and heterogeneous cell populations inside breast tumors, both tumor non-stem as well as tumor stem cells, thus, achieving the desirable therapy outcomes.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.