SSEA-3 as a novel amplifying cancer cell surface marker in colorectal cancers

Yozo Suzuki, Naotsugu Haraguchi, Hidekazu Takahashi, Mamoru Uemura, Junichi Nishimura, Taishi Hata, Ichiro Takemasa, Tsunekazu Mizushima, Hideshi Ishii, Yuichiro Doki, Masaki Mori, Hirofumi Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Findings from studies on stem cells have been applied to cancer stem cell (CSC) research, but little is known about the relationship between ES cell-related cell surface markers and CSCs. In this study, we focused on stage-specific embryonic antigen 3 (SSEA-3), a marker of mesenchymal stem cells and Muse cells in colorectal cancer (CRC). Expression of SSEA-3 in human CRC cell lines and clinical specimens, specifically the relationship of SSEA-3 expression and the representative CSC markers (CD44, CD166, ALDH, CD24 and CD26) as well as with mesenchymal stem cell/Muse cell marker (CD105) were assessed. To characterize SSEA-3-expressing cells, tumorigenicity, sphere formation ability, expression of iPS genes (Oct4, NANOG, SOX2 and c-Myc), cell proliferation and cell cycle status were assessed. SSEA-3 expression was identified in Caco-2, DLD-1, HT-29, SW480 and HCT116, but not in CaR-1 cells. No significant relationship between SSEA-3 and other stem cell markers was detected. SSEA-3+ cells showed increased tumorigenicity in vivo, but lower sphere formation ability in vitro than SSEA-3-. iPS gene expression was not correlated with SSEA-3 expression status. SSEA-3+ cells showed higher proliferative ability than SSEA-3- through enhanced cell cycles by decreased expression of p21Cip1/Waf1 and p27Kip1. Immunofluorescence analysis in clinical specimens indicated that expression of SSEA-3 is limited to stromal cells in normal mucosa but broad in poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma. These observations indicated that SSEA-3+ cells in CRC have immature phenotype but decreased self-renewal ability and may function as tumor transient amplifying cells or delayed contributing tumor-initiating cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'SSEA-3 as a novel amplifying cancer cell surface marker in colorectal cancers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this