Isolation and genomic characterization of stem cells in head and neck cancer

George D. Wilson, Brian Marples, Sandra Galoforo, Timothy J. Geddes, Bryan J. Thibodeau, Reidar Grénman, Jan Akervall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background This study investigated the use of 3 different established cell-sorting strategies to isolate and characterize stem cells from head and neck cancer cell lines. Methods Five low-passage cell lines were subjected to cell sorting based on Hoechst side population, Aldefluor, and CD44 expression. Isolated cell populations were studied for gene expression, radiosensitivity, and chemosensitivity to cisplatin and paclitaxel. Results Each sorting method identified a different set of genes associated with different gene ontology categories, with mitosis being the only common category. CD44-associated gene changes were almost exclusively associated with cell cycle and in particular mitosis. There were no significant differences in radiosensitivity or cisplatin sensitivity of stem or non-stem cells, but CD44-isolated stem cells were more resistant to paclitaxel. Conclusions This study suggested that CD44 may be the most promising cell-sorting strategy to isolate and investigate the impact of stem cells in head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1573-1582
Number of pages10
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • flow cytometry
  • gene expression
  • head and neck cancer
  • radiosensitivity
  • stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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