Enhanced Chemosensitivity by Targeting Nanog in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Chuan En Huang, Cheng Chia Yu, Fang Wei Hu, Ming Yung Chou, Lo Lin Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Chemo-resistance is the major cause of high mortality in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) in which HNSCC-derived cancer stem cells (CSCs) may be involved. Previously, we enriched a subpopulation of HNSCC-derived spheroid cells (SC) (HNSCC-SC) and identified Nanog as a CSCs marker. The aim of this study was to determine the role of Nanog in the chemosensitivity of HNSCC. The functional and clinicopathological studies of Nanog were investigated in HNSCC cells and specimens. Nanog expression was increased in HNSCC cell lines as compared to a normal oral epithelial cell line. Nanog upregulation in clinical tissues from HNSCC patients with recurrent and metastatic specimens relative to the mRNA levels in the samples from normal or primary tissues were examined. Targeting Nanog in HNSCC-SC significantly inhibited their tumorigenic and CSCs-like abilities and effectively increased the sensitivity of HNSCC-SC to chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin treatment. Targeting Nanog in HNSCC-SC showed a synergistic therapeutic effect with cisplatin. Our results suggest that targeting Nanog may have promising therapeutic potential for HNSCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14935-14948
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 25 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Chemosensitivity
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas
  • Nanog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • General Medicine


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