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Stem cell marker-positive stellate cells and mast cells are reduced in benign-appearing bladder tissue in patients with urothelial carcinoma

Isfoss BL, Busch C, Hermelin H, Vermedal AT, Kile M, Braathen GJ, Majak B, Berner A.

Virchows Arch. 2014 Apr;464(4):473-88.

Department of Pathology, Telemark Hospital, Ulefossveien, 3710, Skien, Norway, [email protected]

 

Abstract

 

Survival after invasive bladder cancer has improved less than that of other common non-skin cancers. In many types of malignancy, treatment failure has been attributed to therapy-resistant stem-like cancer cells. Our aim was therefore to determine identities of stem cell marker-positive cells in bladder cancer tissue and to investigate possible associations between these cells and different forms of bladder neoplasia. We investigated tissue from 52 patients with bladder neoplasia and 18 patients with benign bladder conditions, from a cohort that had been previously described with regard to diagnosis and outcome. The samples were analysed immunohistologically for the stem cell markers aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 A1 (ALDH1) and CD44, and markers of cell differentiation. The majority of stem cell marker-positive cells were located in connective tissue, and a smaller fraction in epithelial tissue. Stem cell marker-positive cells exhibiting possible stem cell characteristics included cells in deeper locations of benign and malignant epithelium, and sub-endothelial cells in patients with or without neoplasia. Stem cell marker-positive cells with non-stem cell character included stellate cells, mast cells, endothelial cells, foamy histiocytes, and neurons. Significantly, ALDH1+ stellate cells and ALDH1+ mast cells were reduced in number in stroma of benign-appearing mucosa of bladder cancer patients. The stem cell markers ALDH1 and CD44 label several types of differentiated cells in bladder tissue. ALDH1+ stellate cells and mast cells appear to be reduced in stroma of normal-appearing mucosa of bladder cancer patients, and may be part of a “field effect” in cancer-near areas.

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urothelial carcinoma