Molecular signature of cancer stem cells isolated from prostate carcinoma and expression of stem markers in different Gleason grades and metastasis

Biol Res. 2012;45(3):297-305. doi: 10.4067/S0716-97602012000300011.


Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy in men worldwide. Chemotherapy response is very poor and resistance to hormone-based treatments is frequent in advances stages. Recently, tumor-initiating cells or cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been identified in several cancers, including PCa. These cells are thought to be responsible for therapy resistance, relapse and metastasis. In the present work, enriched populations of CSCs were obtained using a mixed procedure that included differential clone-forming ability, sphere growing induction (prostatospheres) and magnetic-associated cell sorting (MACS). Also, stem marker expression was determined in PCa biopsies of different histological grades and metastasis samples. The signature for stem markers of the isolated CSCs was CD133+/CD44+/ABCG2+/ CD24-. Expression of stem markers (CD133, CD44, and ABCG2) was higher in medium Gleason biopsies than in lower and higher grades, and lymph-node and bone metastasis samples. These results suggest that the CSCs in PCa reach an important number in medium Gleason grades, when the tumor is still confined into the gland. At this stage, the surgical treatment is usually with curative intention. However, an important percentage of patients relapse after treatment. Number and signature of CSCs may be a prognosis factor for PCa recurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Cell Separation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay


  • Antigens, CD
  • Biomarkers, Tumor