Significance of CD90+ cancer stem cells in human liver cancer

Cancer Cell. 2008 Feb;13(2):153-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2008.01.013.


This study characterized cancer stem cells (CSCs) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines, tumor specimens, and blood samples. The CD90+ cells, but not the CD90(-) cells, from HCC cell lines displayed tumorigenic capacity. All the tumor specimens and 91.6% of blood samples from liver cancer patients bore the CD45(-)CD90+ population, which could generate tumor nodules in immunodeficient mice. The CD90+CD44+ cells demonstrated a more aggressive phenotype than the CD90+CD44(-) counterpart and formed metastatic lesions in the lung of immunodeficient mice. CD44 blockade prevented the formation of local and metastatic tumor nodules by the CD90+ cells. Differential gene expression profiles were identified in the CD45(-)CD90+ and CD45(-)CD90(-) cells isolated from tissue and blood samples from liver cancer patients and controls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Separation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / metabolism
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Thy-1 Antigens / metabolism*


  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Thy-1 Antigens
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE5221
  • GEO/GSE5223