(1) Background: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a small cell population associated with chemoresistance, metastasis and increased mortality rate in oral cancer. Interferon-induced proteins with tetratricopeptide repeats 2 (IFIT2) depletion results in epithelial to mesenchymal transition, invasion, metastasis, and chemoresistance in oral cancer. To date, no study has demonstrated the effect of IFIT2 depletion on the CSC-like phenotype in oral cancer cells. (2) Methods: Q-PCR, sphere formation, Hoechst 33,342 dye exclusion, immunofluorescence staining, and flow cytometry assays were performed to evaluate the expression of the CSC markers in IFIT2-depleted cells. A tumorigenicity assay was adopted to assess the tumor formation ability. Immunohistochemical staining was used to examine the protein levels of IFIT2 and CD24 in oral cancer patients. (3) Results: The cultured IFIT2 knockdown cells exhibited an overexpression of ABCG2 and CD44 and a downregulation of CD24 and gave rise to CSC-like phenotypes. Clinically, there was a positive correlation between IFIT2 and CD24 in the patients. IFIT2high/CD24high/CD44low expression profiles predicted a better prognosis in HNC, including oral cancer. The TNF-α blockade abolished the IFIT2 depletion-induced sphere formation, indicating that TNF-α may be involved in the CSC-like phenotypes in oral cancer. (4) Conclusions: The present study demonstrates that IFIT2 depletion promotes CSC-like phenotypes in oral cancer.
- cancer stem cells
- interferon-induced proteins with tetratricopeptide repeats 2
- oral cancer