Cancer stem-like cells are enriched in CD133-positive (CD133(+)) colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. To date, the biological significance of CD133 expression in cancer stem-like cells is still unknown. B7-H3, a costimulatory molecule, plays a pivotal role in tumor immune escape by inhibiting the functions of T cells. To identify a new marker to predict the tumor grade of CRC, we analyzed the expression of B7-H3 and CD133 in colorectal tumor samples, and their clinical significance was determined. By using a series of techniques including pathologic tissue microarray technology, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescent staining, we found B7-H3 was expressed in 56.73% of the CRC cases (59/104) sampled; CD133 was detected in 26.92% of the CRC cases (28/104) sampled. Further analysis indicated that 22 of these CD133(+) samples expressed B7-H3. We also found coexpression of CD133 and B7-H3 in tumor tissue samples (r = 0.321, P < 0.01). Moreover, in contrast to individual CD133 or B7-H3 expression, the coexpression of B7-H3 and CD133 was evidently associated with the depth of tumor invasion, lymphatic metastasis, distant metastasis, and Dukes' stage, suggesting it is a valuable biomarker for the progression of CRC. Indeed, the patients with coexpression of B7-H3 and CD133 had a poorer survival than the other patients (P < 0.05). In summary, our results reveal that B7-H3 was aberrantly expressed in CD133(+) CRC cells, and the expression level was closely associated with tumor progression.
Keywords: B7-H3; CD133; Clinicopathology; Colorectal cancer.
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