A stem cell gene expression profile of human squamous cell carcinomas

Cancer Lett. 2008 Dec 8;272(1):23-31. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.06.014. Epub 2008 Jul 26.


To investigate the relationship between stem cells in normal epithelium and in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), we examined expression of a panel of human epidermal stem cell markers in SCCs and SCC cell lines. Markers that are co-expressed in normal stem cells were not co-expressed in SCC. Downregulation of two markers, Lrig1 and MAP4, and upregulation of a third, MCSP, correlated with poor differentiation status and increased proliferation in primary tumours. We conclude that SCCs do not reflect a simple expansion of stem cells; rather, tumour cells hijack the homeostatic controls that operate in normal stem cells, eliminating those that maintain stem cell quiescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Foreskin / cytology
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Male
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Skin / cytology
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Genetic Markers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • GTP-Binding Proteins