Mitochondrial and energy metabolism-related properties as novel indicators of lung cancer stem cells

Int J Cancer. 2011 Aug 15;129(4):820-31. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25944. Epub 2011 Apr 25.


Energy metabolism is the foundation of survival for all organisms, and mitochondria are the most important energy-supplying organelles in eukaryotic cells. However, the mitochondrial and energy/metabolism-related properties of cancer stem cells (CSCs), the stem cell-like subpopulation in tumor masses, remain unknown. In our study, we compared the masses of mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm), oxygen/glucose consumption, and the concentration of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ATP between lung CSCs (LCSCs) and non-LCSCs. In addition, the change in features during differentiation was examined. Some mitochondrial and energy metabolism-related properties, such as perinuclear mitochondrial distribution, a lower quantity of mtDNA, higher Δψm, lower oxygen/glucose consumption, and lower intracellular concentrations of ROS and ATP, can be used as indicators of LCSCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Glucose
  • Oxygen