Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been shown to mediate tumorigenicity, chemo-resistance, radio-resistance and metastasis, which suggest they be considered therapeutic targets. Because their differentiated daughter cells are no longer tumorigenic, to induce the differentiation of CSCs can be one of strategies which can eradicate CSCs. Here we show that ATOH1 can induce the differentiation of gastric cancer stem cells (GCSCs). Real time PCR and western blot analysis showed that ATOH1 was induced during the differentiation of GCSCs. Furthermore, the lentivirus-induced overexpression of ATOH1 in GCSCs and in gastric cancer cell lines significantly induced differentiation, reduced proliferation and sphere formation, and reduced in vivo tumor formation in the subcutaneous injection and liver metastasis xenograft models. These results suggest ATOH1 be considered for the development of a differentiation therapy for gastric cancer.
Han, M. E., Baek, S. J., Kim, S. Y., Kang, C. D., & Oh, S. O. (2015). ATOH1 can regulate the tumorigenicity of gastric cancer cells by inducing the differentiation of cancer stem cells. PLoS ONE, 10(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126085