Identification of Human Cutaneous Basal Cell Carcinoma Cancer Stem Cells

  • Huw Morgan
  • Carlotta Olivero
  • Girish K. PatelEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1879)


The cancer stem cell model states that a subset of tumor cells, called “cancer stem cells,” can initiate and propagate tumor growth through self-renewal, high proliferative capacity, and their ability to recreate tumor heterogeneity. In basal cell carcinoma (BCC), we have shown that tumor cells that express the cell surface protein CD200 fulfill the cancer stem cell hypothesis. CD200+ CD45− BCC cells represent 0.05–3.96% of all BCC cells and reside in small clusters at the tumor periphery. Using a novel, reproducible in vivo xenograft growth assay, we determined that tumor-initiating cell (TIC) frequencies are approximately 1 per 1.5 million unsorted BCC cells. The CD200+ CD45− BCC subpopulation recreated BCC tumor growth in vivo with typical histological architecture and expression of sonic hedgehog-regulated genes. Reproducible in vivo BCC growth was achieved with as few as 10,000 CD200+ CD45− cells, representing ~1500-fold enrichment. The methods used to identify and purify CD200+ CD45− BCC cells, as well as characterize gene expression, are described herein.


Basal cell carcinoma Cancer stem cells Mouse models Skin cancer Tumor-initiating cells 



This work is supported by grants from Cancer Research Wales, Cancer Research UK, and Hywel Dda University Health Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huw Morgan
    • 1
  • Carlotta Olivero
    • 1
  • Girish K. Patel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.European Cancer Stem Cell Research InstituteCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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