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International Journal of Cancer Research
Year: 2014  |  Volume: 10  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 65 - 73

Regulation of Cancer Stem Cell Marker (CD133) by Transforming Growth Factor Beta in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Amany H. Mansour, Tawfik R. Elkhodary, Rokia Anwar, Maha Ragab Habeeb and Mohammed Amin Mohammed    

Abstract: Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the major form of primary liver cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. HCC is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage, resulting in rather poor survival rates. CD133, a trans-membrane glycoprotein, is an important cell surface marker for both stem cells and Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) in various tissues including the liver. CD133 has been used as the Tumor Initiating Cells (TICs) marker in HCC. Further identification and characterization of CSCs or TICs in HCC are necessary to better understand hepatic carcinogenesis. So, the objective of this study was to estimate the level of the specific markers as CD133 and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) in HCC. Fifty peripheral blood samples were collected from HCC patients. The CD133 protein expression was analyzed by flow cytometry and TGF-β levels were assayed by ELISA. This study revealed a higher expression of CD133+cells in all HCC patients. The expression of CD133+cells was positively correlated with clinical, pathological and laboratory parameters. A mild to moderate positive correlation was found with tumor size, male gender, pathological grade, Hepatitis C virus and Alpha-fetoprotein and showed a strong positive correlation between age, TGF-β, Lymph node metastasis, portal vein tumor thrombosis and CD133+cells in peripheral blood. CD133+cells might represent true CSCs in HCC which could allow a better understanding of HCC initiation and progression, as well as possibly bear great therapeutic implications. Moreover, the multifunctional cytokine TGF-β plays a crucial role in the regulation of CD133 expression in HCC.

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