An adult tissue-specific stem cell molecular phenotype is activated in epithelial cancer stem cells and correlated to patient outcome

Cell Cycle. 2010 Jan 15;9(2):321-7. doi: 10.4161/cc.9.2.10421. Epub 2010 Jan 23.


Recent studies have shown that embryonic stem cell-like molecular phenotypes are commonly activated in human epithelial primary tumors and are linked to adverse patient prognosis.(1,2) However it remains unclear whether these correlations to outcome are linked to the differentiation status of the human primary tumors(1) or represent molecular reminiscences of epithelial cancer stem cells.(2) In addition, while it has been demonstrated that leukemic cancer stem cells re-acquire an embryonic stem cell-like phenotype,(3,4) the molecular basis of stem cell function in epithelial cancer stem cells has not been investigated. Here we show that a normal adult tissue-specific stem cell molecular phenotype is commonly activated in epithelial cancer stem cells and for the first time provide evidence that enrichment in cancer stem cells-specific molecular signatures are correlated to highly aggressive tumor phenotypes in human epithelial cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / cytology
  • Adult Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis