There is emerging evidence that human solid tumor cells originate from cancer stem cells (CSCs). In cancer cell lines, tumor-initiating CSCs are mainly found in the side population (SP) that has the capacity to extrude dyes such as Hoechst 33342. We found that Nanog is expressed specifically in SP cells of human gastrointestinal (GI) cancer cells. Nucleotide sequencing revealed that NanogP8 but not Nanog was expressed in GI cancer cells. Transfection of NanogP8 into GI cancer cell lines promoted cell proliferation, while its inhibition by anti-Nanog siRNA suppressed the proliferation. Immunohistochemical staining of primary GI cancer tissues revealed NanogP8 protein to be strongly expressed in 3 out of 60 cases. In these cases, NanogP8 was found especially in an infiltrative part of the tumor, in proliferating cells with Ki67 expression. These data suggest that NanogP8 is involved in GI cancer development in a fraction of patients, in whom it presumably acts by supporting CSC proliferation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology