Tumorigenic and metastatic activity of human thyroid cancer stem cells

Gaspare Gulotta, Giorgio Stassi, Francesco Dieli, Matilde Todaro, Flora Iovino, Patrizia Cammareri, Guido Gambara, Vincenzo Eterno, Giorgio Stassi, Silvia Giordano, Patrizia Cammareri, Virginia Espina, Ruggero De Maria, Vincenzo Eterno

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149 Citations (Scopus)


Thyroid carcinoma is the most common endocrine malignancy and the first cause of death among endocrine cancers. We show that the tumorigenic capacity in thyroid cancer is confined in a small subpopulation of stem-like cells with high aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH(high)) activity and unlimited replication potential. ALDH(high) cells can be expanded indefinitely in vitro as tumor spheres, which retain the tumorigenic potential upon delivery in immunocompromised mice. Orthotopic injection of minute numbers of thyroid cancer stem cells recapitulates the behavior of the parental tumor, including the aggressive metastatic features of undifferentiated thyroid carcinomas, which are sustained by constitutive activation of cMet and Akt in thyroid cancer stem cells. The identification of tumorigenic and metastagenic thyroid cancer cells may provide unprecedented preclinical tools for development and preclinical validation of novel targeted therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8874-8885
JournalCancer Research
Publication statusPublished - 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Gulotta, G., Stassi, G., Dieli, F., Todaro, M., Iovino, F., Cammareri, P., Gambara, G., Eterno, V., Stassi, G., Giordano, S., Cammareri, P., Espina, V., De Maria, R., & Eterno, V. (2010). Tumorigenic and metastatic activity of human thyroid cancer stem cells. Cancer Research, 70, 8874-8885.