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Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor in children and young adults. The median survival of osteosarcoma patients has not significantly improved since 1990, despite administration of different classes of chemotherapy agents, such as methotrexate, cisplatin and doxorubicin. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for the resistance of osteosarcoma to chemotherapy and OCT4, SOX2 and SSEA4 have been used to identify CSCs in osteosarcoma. Here, we used low-passage patient-derived osteosarcoma cells and osteosarcoma cells directly isolated from patients before and after chemotherapy treatments to evaluate the effects of chemotherapy on stem cell markers expression. We demonstrate that primary osteosarcoma cells are resistant to methotrexate treatment and sensitive to cisplatin and doxorubicin in vitro. We also verified that cisplatin and doxorubicin reduce the expression of SOX2 and OCT4 in primary osteosarcoma cells whereas methotrexate does not alter SOX2 and OCT4 expression, however it increases SSEA4 expression in primary osteosarcoma cells. Finally, we found that, although the combination treatment cisplatin plus doxorubicin inhibited the in vivo growth of osteosarcoma cells in NOD-SCID gamma mice subcutaneously injected with SaOs2, the combination treatment cisplatin plus doxorubicin plus methotrexate did not inhibit the in vivo growth of these cells. These observations may provide an explanation for the poor response of osteosarcomas to chemotherapy and point to the need of reevaluating the therapeutic strategies for human osteosarcomas.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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