J Cancer 2017; 8(3):469-478. doi:10.7150/jca.17012

Research Paper

Daughter Cells and Erythroid Cells Budding from PGCCs and Their Clinicopathological Significances in Colorectal Cancer

Dan Zhang1*, Xiaoyun Yang1*, Zhengduo Yang1, Fei Fei1, Shuyuan Li2, Jie Qu1, Mingqing Zhang2, Yuwei Li2, Xipeng Zhang2, Shiwu Zhang1✉

1. Department of Pathology, Tianjin Union Medical Center, Tianjin, 300121, P.R. China.
2. Department of Colorectal Surgery, Tianjin Union Medical Center, Tianjin 300121, P.R.China.
*These authors equally contribute to the paper.


Purpose: We previously reported that polyploid giant cancer cells (PGCCs) induced by cobalt chloride (CoCl2) exhibit cancer stem cell properties. Daughter cells generated by PGCCs possess epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype changes and EMT plays an important role in cancer development and progression. This study investigated the characteristics of PGCCs from LoVo and HCT116 induced by CoCl2 and the clinicopathological significances of PGCCs in colorectal cancer (CRC).

Materials and Methods: Western blotting and immunocytochemical staining were used to compare the expression levels of EMT-related proteins between PGCCs with budding daughter cells and the control cells. In addition, tissue samples were collected from 159 patients with CRC for analysis of PGCCs, vasculogenic mimicry (VM), and single stromal PGCCs with budding, as well as immunohistochemical staining for cathepsin B, vimentin, and hemoglobin A.

Results: Single PGCCs induced by CoCl2 formed spheroids in vitro. Poorly differentiated CRCs showed the highest numbers of PGCCs and VM, and expression of cathepsin B. There was greater expression of EMT-related proteins in PGCCs with budding daughter cells than in control cells. The expression of vimentin located in PGCC nuclei. Single stomal PGCCs with budding were detected in 27.45% of well differentiated, 50% of moderately differentiated, and 90.20% of poorly differentiated CRC samples. PGCCs can generate erythroid cells that express delta-hemoglobin to form VM. Erythroid cells generated by PGCCs were positive for hemoglobin A immunocytochemical staining.

Conclusion: PGCCs from LoVo and HCT116 treated by CoCl2 exhibited cancer stem cell properties. The number of PGCCs and VM were associated with CRC differentiation and daughter cells budded from PGCCs may promote the lymph node metastasis via expression of EMT-related proteins. PGCCs and their newly generated erythroid cells form VM structures.

Keywords: Polyploid giant cancer cells, Colorectal cancer, Vasculogenic mimicry, Epithelial-mesenchymal transition, Cancer stem cells.

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How to cite this article:
Zhang D, Yang X, Yang Z, Fei F, Li S, Qu J, Zhang M, Li Y, Zhang X, Zhang S. Daughter Cells and Erythroid Cells Budding from PGCCs and Their Clinicopathological Significances in Colorectal Cancer. J Cancer 2017; 8(3):469-478. doi:10.7150/jca.17012. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v08p0469.htm