Transforming growth factor-β decreases the cancer-initiating cell population within diffuse-type gastric carcinoma cells

Oncogene. 2011 Apr 7;30(14):1693-705. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.546. Epub 2010 Dec 6.


Stem cells in normal tissues and cancer-initiating cells (CICs) are known to be enriched in side population (SP) cells. However, the factors responsible for the regulation of expression of ABCG2, involved in efflux of dyes, in SP cells have not been fully investigated. Here, we characterized the SP cells within diffuse-type gastric carcinoma, and examined the effects of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) on SP cells. Diffuse-type gastric carcinoma cells established from four independent patients universally contained SP cells between 1 and 4% of total cells, which displayed greater tumorigenicity than non-SP cells did. TGF-β repressed the transcription of ABCG2 through direct binding of Smad2/3 to its promoter/enhancer, and the number of SP cells and the tumor-forming ability of cancer cells were decreased by TGF-β, although ABCG2 is not directly involved in the tumor-forming ability of SP cells. Cancer cells from metastatic site expressed much higher levels of ABCG2 and included a greater percentage of SP cells than parental cancer cells did. SP cells are thus responsible for the progression of diffuse-type gastric carcinoma, and TGF-β negatively contributes to maintain the CICs within the cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects
  • Side-Population Cells / drug effects*
  • Smad2 Protein / metabolism
  • Smad3 Protein / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / pharmacology*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • ABCG2 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • SMAD2 protein, human
  • SMAD3 protein, human
  • Smad2 Protein
  • Smad3 Protein
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta