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Accession IconGSE49482

Phenotypic, genomic and functional characterization reveals no differences between CD138++ and CD138low subpopulations in multiple myeloma cell lines

Organism Icon Homo sapiens
Sample Icon 6 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge Icon Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST Array (hugene10st)

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Despite recent advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), it remains an incurable disease potentially due to the presence of resistant myeloma cancer stem cells (MM-CSC). Although the presence of clonogenic cells in MM was described more than 30 years ago, the phenotype of MM-CSC is still a matter of debate, especially with respect to the expression of syndecan- 1 (CD138). Here, we demonstrate the presence of two subpopulations - CD138++ (95-99%) and CD138low (1-5%) - in eight MM cell lines. To find out possible stem-cell-like features, we have phenotypically, genomic and functionally characterized the two subpopulations. Our results show that the minor CD138low subpopulation is morphologically identical to the CD138++ fraction and does not represent a more immature B-cell compartment (with lack of CD19, CD20 and CD27 surface expression). Moreover, both subpopulations have similar gene expression and genomic profiles. Importantly, both CD138++ and CD138low subpopulations have similar sensitivity to bortezomib, melphalan and doxorubicin. Finally, serial engraftment in SCID mice shows that CD138++ as well as CD138low cells have self-renewal potential and they are also phenotypically interconvertible. Overall, our results differ from previously published data which attribute a B-cell phenotype to MM-CSC and urge the need to explore more reliable markers to discriminate true clonogenic myeloma cells.
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