Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.522, No.4, 881-888, 2020
Characterization of the metastatic potential of the floating cell component of MIA PaCa-2, a human pancreatic cancer cell line
In pancreatic cancer, morphologically and functionally heterogeneous cancer cells reside within the same patient. The heterogeneity is believed to promote metastasis and resistance to chemoradiotherapy. MIA PaCa-2, an established human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell line, contains round and spindle-shaped adherent cells, as well as, round floating cells. In this study, we aimed to assess if the floating cells might have greater metastatic potential and/or be more resistant to drug-induced apoptosis compared to adherent cells. Time-lapse analysis revealed that the two types of adherent cells transformed bilaterally, and some of the adherent, round cells converted to floating cells. Flow cytometry and electron microscopy showed that approximately 90% of the floating cells were viable. qRT-PCR analysis revealed that floating cells expressed lower levels of integrins and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters than adherent cells. In contrast, except for vimentin, floating cells expressed more epithelial to mesenchymal transition markers than adherent cells. Floating cells included a larger population of G2/M-phase cells, and migration assays revealed a decreased migration ability by floating cells relative to adherent cells. A cell aggregation assay showed that the aggregative properties of the floating cells were lower than those of the adherent cells. In 3D culture, spheres derived from floating cells were more sensitive to anti-cancer drugs, including gemcitabine, 5-FU, and abraxane, than those derived from adherent cells. Expression levels of stemness markers in the spheres derived from floating cells were lower than those derived from adherent cells. Morphological characterization of human PDAC cell lines may help to clarify the series of alterations cancer cells undergo during the metastatic process and may contribute to the development of new PDAC diagnostics and more patient-specific treatments for those with PDAC. (C) 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.