Proliferation and enrichment of CD133+ glioblastoma cancer stem cells on 3D chitosan-alginate scaffolds

Forrest M. Kievit, Stephen J. Florczyk, Matthew C. Leung, Kui Wang, Jennifer D. Wu, John R. Silber, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Jerry S.H. Lee, Miqin Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence implicates cancer stem cells (CSCs) as primary determinants of the clinical behavior of human cancers, representing an ideal target for next-generation anti-cancer therapies. However CSCs are difficult to propagate invitro, severely limiting the study of CSC biology and drug development. Here we report that growing cells from glioblastoma (GBM) cell lines on three dimensional (3D) porous chitosan-alginate (CA) scaffolds dramatically promotes the proliferation and enrichment of cells possessing the hallmarks of CSCs. CA scaffold-grown cells were found more tumorigenic in nude mouse xenografts than cells grown from monolayers. Growing in CA scaffolds rapidly promoted expression of genes involved in the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition that has been implicated in the genesis of CSCs. Our results indicate that CA scaffolds have utility as a simple and inexpensive means to cultivate CSCs invitro in support of studies to understand CSC biology and develop more effective anti-cancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9137-9143
Number of pages7
Issue number33
StatePublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain tumor initiating cells
  • Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Microenvironment


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