, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 2638-2644
Date: 25 Jun 2009

Comprehensive Analysis of the Clinical Significance of Inducing Pluripotent Stemness-Related Gene Expression in Colorectal Cancer Cells

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We previously determined that cancer stem-like cells may influence the susceptibility of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells to chemotherapeutic agents. Although Takahashi and Park identified a set of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS)-related genes required for normal stem cell maintenance, the precise role of iPS-related gene expression in CRC pathogenesis remains to be determined. The purpose of this study was to clarify the clinical relevance of “stemness”-regulating gene expression in CRC cases.

Materials and methods

Cancer cells were excised from tissues of 79 CRC cases by laser microdissection (LMD), and quantitative RT-PCR was used to evaluate expression levels of the iPS-related genes c-MYC, SOX2, OCT3/4, LIN28, KLF4, and NANOG, and to identify any associations between their expression and clinicopathological CRC progression.


We found that LIN28 expression is significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (p = 0.018) and Dukes stage (p = 0.0319). SOX2expression is also correlated with lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, the ten cases with Dukes D disease expressed significantly higher levels of SOX2transcript than the other 69 cases (p = 0.0136). In contrast, KLF4 expression was inversely related to Dukes stage. Expression of c-MYC, OCT3/4, and NANOG did not appear to have clinical relevance in CRC cases.


The present analysis strongly suggests that altered expression of several iPS-related genes plays a role in CRC pathogenesis.