Transcriptome analysis of CD133-positive stem cells and prognostic value of survivin in colorectal cancer

Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2014 Sep-Oct;11(5):259-66.


Background/aim: CD133 is an important, but not exclusive, biomarker of colorectal cancer (CRC) stem cells.

Materials and methods: In order to identify other CRC stem cell-specific genes, we performed a comparative expression profiling of CD133(+) and CD133(-) cell populations in primary and metastatic tumors from four patients with CRC. CD133(+) and CD133(-) CRC cells were isolated using MagSweeper and used for whole-transcriptome analysis with RNA-Seq.

Results: We found that in CD133(+) cells, 17 genes (RNASE2, PRB2, IL4, MGC27382, CLEC4C, SALL3, GIMAP1, ISG15, LOC728875, ZIK1, ICAM2, CCDC7, CDYL2, LRRC2, ZEB1, OSTF1 and CCDC144B) were significantly up-regulated compared to CD133(-) CRC cells. Among them, IL4 has been known as an inducer of survivin implicated in the survival and proliferation of cancer cells. However, the prognostic value of survivin in CRC is controversial. We evaluated survivin expression in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples of 188 patients with CRC by immunohistochemistry. Survivin over-expression was detected in 85 patients (45.2%) and was significantly associated with primary tumor sites (p=0.028), lymph node metastasis (p=0.029) and advanced III/IV CRC stages (AJCC 7; p=0.001). Furthermore, survivin up-regulation correlated with reduced disease-free survival (DFS; p=0.021) and overall survival (OS; p<0.000) and was proved to be an independent prognostic factor for both DFS and OS in multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that CD133(+) CRC stem cells have a distinct expression pattern and that survivin, up-regulated by differentially expressed IL-4, is a candidate biomarker for the prediction of recurrence and survival in CRC.

Keywords: CD133+; Cancer stem cells; interleukin-4; surviving.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AC133 Antigen
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD / genetics*
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / genetics*
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Prognosis
  • Survivin
  • Transcriptome


  • AC133 Antigen
  • Antigens, CD
  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Glycoproteins
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • PROM1 protein, human
  • Peptides
  • Survivin