Wilms Tumor NCAM-Expressing Cancer Stem Cells as Potential Therapeutic Target for Polymeric Nanomedicine

Mol Cancer Ther. 2017 Nov;16(11):2462-2472. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-17-0184. Epub 2017 Jul 20.


Cancer stem cells (CSC) form a specific population within the tumor that has been shown to have self-renewal and differentiation properties, increased ability to migrate and form metastases, and increased resistance to chemotherapy. Consequently, even a small number of cells remaining after therapy can repopulate the tumor and cause recurrence of the disease. CSCs in Wilms tumor, a pediatric renal cancer, were previously shown to be characterized by neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) expression. Therefore, NCAM provides a specific biomarker through which the CSC population in this tumor can be targeted. We have recently developed an NCAM-targeted nanosized conjugate of paclitaxel bound to a biodegradable polyglutamic acid polymer. In this work, we examined the ability of the conjugate to inhibit Wilms tumor by targeting the NCAM-expressing CSCs. Results show that the conjugate selectively depleted the CSC population of the tumors and effectively inhibited tumor growth without causing toxicity. We propose that the NCAM-targeted conjugate could be an effective therapeutic for Wilms tumor. Mol Cancer Ther; 16(11); 2462-72. ©2017 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Self Renewal
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Nanoconjugates / administration & dosage*
  • Nanoconjugates / chemistry
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / genetics
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics*
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage*
  • Paclitaxel / chemistry
  • Polymers / administration & dosage
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Wilms Tumor / drug therapy*
  • Wilms Tumor / genetics
  • Wilms Tumor / pathology


  • Nanoconjugates
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Polymers
  • Paclitaxel