CD133 positive hepatocellular carcinoma cells possess high capacity for tumorigenicity

Int J Cancer. 2007 Apr 1;120(7):1444-50. doi: 10.1002/ijc.22476.


Recently increasing reported data have suggested that only a small subset of cancer cells possess capability to initiate malignancies including leukemia and solid tumors, which was based on investigation in these cells displaying a distinct surface marker pattern within the primary cancers. CD133 is a putative hematopoietic and neuronal stem-cell marker, which was also considered as a tumorigenic marker in brain and prostate cancer. We hypothesized that CD133 was a marker closely correlated with tumorigenicity, since it was reported that CD133 expressed in human fetal liver and repairing liver tissues, which tightly associated with hepatocarcinogenesis. Our findings showed that a small population of CD133 positive cells indeed exists in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines and primary HCC tissues. From SMMC-7721 cell line, CD133+ cells isolated by MACS manifested high tumorigenecity and clonogenicity as compared with CD133- HCC cells. The implication that CD133 might be one of the markers for HCC cancer stem-like cells needed further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AC133 Antigen
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Congenic
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • AC133 Antigen
  • Antigens, CD
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Glycoproteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • PROM1 protein, human
  • Peptides
  • Prom1 protein, mouse