Cancer stem-like cells (CSC) drive cancer progression and recurrence. Self-renewal expansion of CSC is achieved through symmetric cell division, yet how external stimuli affect intracellular regulatory programs of CSC division modes and stemness remains obscure. Here we report that hTERThigh prostate cancer (PCa) cells exhibit CSC properties, including a stem cell-associated gene expression signature, long term tumor-propagating capacity and epithelial-to-mensenchymal transition (EMT). In promoting the self-renewal symmetric division of hTERThigh PCa cells, WNT3a dramatically decreased the ratio of hTERThigh PCa cells undergoing asymmetric division. Increased WNT/β-catenin signal activation was detected also in hTERThigh PCa cells. hTERT-mediated CSC properties were at least partially dependent on β-catenin. These findings provide novel cellular and molecular mechanisms for the self-renewal of CSC orchestrated by tumor microenvironmental stimuli and CSC intracellular signals.
- Received July 14, 2016.
- Revision received January 11, 2017.
- Accepted January 11, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.