CD105 was postulated as a renal cell carcinoma (RCC) stem cell marker, and CD133 as a putative RCC progenitor. Hypoxia, a natural microenvironment that prevails in tumors, was also incorporated into the study, especially in terms of the promotion of hypothetical stem-like cell properties.
Within this study, we verify the existence of CD105+ and CD133+ populations in selected papillary subtype RCC (pRCC) cell lines. Both populations were analyzed for correlation with stem-like cell properties, such as stemness gene expression, and sphere and colony formation. For the preliminary analysis, several RCC cell lines were chosen (786-O, SMKT-R2, Caki-2, 796-P, ACHN, RCC6) and the control was human kidney cancer stem cells (HKCSC) and renal cells of embryonic origin (ASE-5063). Four cell lines were chosen for further investigation: Caki-2 (one of the highest numbers of CD105+ cells; primary origin), ACHN (a low number of CD105+ cells; metastatic origin), HKCSC (putative positive control), and ASE-5063 (additional control).
In 769-P and RCC6, we could not detect a CD105+ population. Hypoxia variously affects pRCC cell growth, and mainly diminishes the stem-like properties of cells. Furthermore, we could not observe the correlation of CD105 and/or CD133 expression with the enhancement of stem-like properties.
Based on this analysis, CD105/CD133 cannot be validated as cancer stem cell markers of pRCC cell lines.