Progress in chemotherapy of solid cancer has been tragically slow due, in large part, to the chemoresistance of quiescent cancer cells in tumors. The fluorescence ubiquitination cell-cycle indicator (FUCCI) was developed in 2008 by Miyawaki et al., which color-codes the phases of the cell cycle in real-time. FUCCI utilizes genes linked to different color fluorescent reporters that are only expressed in specific phases of the cell cycle and can, thereby, image the phases of the cell cycle in real-time. Intravital real-time FUCCI imaging within tumors has demonstrated that an established tumor comprises a majority of quiescent cancer cells and a minor population of cycling cancer cells located at the tumor surface or in proximity to tumor blood vessels. In contrast to most cycling cancer cells, quiescent cancer cells are resistant to cytotoxic chemotherapy, most of which target cells in S/G2/M phases. The quiescent cancer cells can re-enter the cell cycle after surviving treatment, which suggests the reason why most cytotoxic chemotherapy is often ineffective for solid cancers. Thus, quiescent cancer cells are a major impediment to effective cancer therapy. FUCCI imaging can be used to effectively target quiescent cancer cells within tumors. For example, we review how FUCCI imaging can help to identify cell-cycle-specific therapeutics that comprise decoy of quiescent cancer cells from G1 phase to cycling phases, trapping the cancer cells in S/G2 phase where cancer cells are mostly sensitive to cytotoxic chemotherapy and eradicating the cancer cells with cytotoxic chemotherapy most active against S/G2 phase cells. FUCCI can readily image cell-cycle dynamics at the single cell level in real-time in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, visualizing cell cycle dynamics within tumors with FUCCI can provide a guide for many strategies to improve cell-cycle targeting therapy for solid cancers.
- Cell cycle
- Fluorescent proteins
- Quiescentquiescentcancer cancercells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research