Ample evidence supports that prostate tumor metastasis originates from a rare population of cancer cells, known as cancer stem cells (CSCs). Unfortunately, little is known about the identity of these cells, making it difficult to target the metastatic prostate tumor. Here, for the first time, we report the identification of a rare population of prostate cancer cells that express the Tie-2 protein. We found that this Tie-2Highpopulation exists mainly in prostate cancer cell lines that are capable of metastasizing to the bone. These cells not only express a higher level of CSC markers but also demonstrate enhanced resistance to the chemotherapeutic drug Cabazitaxel. In addition, knockdown of the expression of the Tie-2 ligand angiopoietin (Ang- 1) led to suppression of CSC markers, suggesting that the Ang-1/Tie-2 signaling pathway functions as an autocrine loop for the maintenance of prostate CSCs. More importantly, we found that Tie-2Highprostate cancer cells are more adhesive than the Tie-2Lowpopulation to both osteoblasts and endothelial cells. Moreover, only the Tie- 2High, but not the Tie-2Lowcells developed tumor metastasis in vivo when injected at a low number. Taken together, our data suggest that Tie-2 may play an important role during the development of prostate tumor metastasis.
- Cancer stem cells
- Prostate cancer