Methodologies in Assaying Prostate Cancer Stem Cells

  • Hangwen Li
  • Ming Jiang
  • Sofia Honorio
  • Lubna Patrawala
  • Collene R. Jeter
  • Tammy Calhoun-Davis
  • Simon W. Hayward
  • Dean G. Tang
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 568)


The cancer stem cell (CSC) theory posits that only a small population of tumor cells within the tumor has the ability to reinitiate tumor development and is responsible for tumor homeostasis and progression. Tumor initiation is a defining property of putative CSCs, which have been reported in both blood malignancies and solid tumors. In order to test whether any given human tumor cell population has CSC properties, the relatively enriched single cells have to be put into a foreign microenvironment in a recipient animal to test their tumorigenic potential. Furthermore, various in vitro assays need be performed to demonstrate that the presumed CSCs have certain biological properties normally associated with the stem cells (SCs). Herein, we present a comprehensive review of the experimental methodologies that our lab has been using in assaying putative prostate cancer (PCa) SCs in culture, xenograft tumors, and primary tumor samples.

Key words

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) Prostate cancer Clonal and clonogenic assays Side population Self-renewal Transplantation sites Sphere-formation assays 



We thank Mr. Kent Claypool for assistance in FACS, Histology and Animal Facility Cores for technical assistance, and other members (past and present) of the Tang lab for discussion and support. This work was supported in part by grants from NIH (R01-AG023374, R01-ES015888, and R21-ES015893-01A1), American Cancer Society (RSG MGO-105961), Department of Defense (W81XWH-07-1-0616 and PC073751), Prostate Cancer Foundation, and Elsa Pardee Foundation (D.G.T), by DOD-PCRP grant W81XWH-04-1-0867, and by two Center grants (CCSG-5 P30 CA166672 and ES07784). H. Li was supported in part by a predoctoral fellowship from DOD (W81XWH-07-1-0132). L. Patrawala was supported in part by a predoctoral fellowship from Department of Defense (W81XWH-06-1-023). C. Jeter was supported in part by a postdoctoral fellowship from American Urological Association.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hangwen Li
    • 1
  • Ming Jiang
    • 2
  • Sofia Honorio
    • 1
  • Lubna Patrawala
    • 1
  • Collene R. Jeter
    • 1
  • Tammy Calhoun-Davis
    • 1
  • Simon W. Hayward
    • 2
  • Dean G. Tang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CarcinogenesisUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterSmithvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Urologic SurgeryVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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