Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 9, pp 12889–12896 | Cite as

ABCG2 is required for self-renewal and chemoresistance of CD133-positive human colorectal cancer cells

  • Lijun Ma
  • Ting Liu
  • Yiran Jin
  • Jun Wei
  • Yinxue Yang
  • Hongquan Zhang
Original Article


There is increasing evidence supporting the cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis, which suggests that a population of tumor cells with stem cell characteristics is responsible for tumor growth, resistance, and recurrence as well as drug resistance. In colorectal cancer, the CD133 antigen defines distinct cell subpopulations that are rich in tumor-initiating cells; however, the drug resistance properties of these CD133-positive cells have not been well defined. The breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP)/ATP-binding cassette subfamily G member 2 (ABCG2) is present on the plasma membrane of many types of human cancer cells and contributes to multidrug resistance during chemotherapy. The results of the present study showed that ABCG2 is expressed in CD133-positive CSCs from human colorectal tumors. Furthermore, the downregulation of ABCG2 expression inhibited the self-renewal capacity of these cells, and significantly enhanced the efficacy of chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in LS174T colon adenocarcinoma cells and CD133-positive colorectal carcinoma cells. Together, these data show that ABCG2 expression correlates with the presence of CD133-positive cancer cells, and thus is a possible therapeutic target for colorectal cancer.


ABCG2 CD133+ Chemoresistance Colorectal cancer cell Self-renewal 



This work is supported by the China Natural Science Foundation (No. 81260309), Ningxia Province Science Research Foundation of China (No. 79), and the Ningxia Medical University Research Foundation of China (No. XM201135).

Compliance with ethical standards

Thirty-six primary tumor specimens were collected from tumors surgically removed from patients diagnosed to have colorectal cancers in the surgical center of the General Hospital of Ningxia Medical University, and according to the ethical standards of the institutional committee approved by Ningxia Medical University. Informed consent was obtained from all patients included in the study.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology and Tumor Biology, Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, School of Basic Medical SciencePeking University Health Science CenterBeijingChina
  2. 2.Ningxia Human Stem Cell Institutethe General Hospital of Ningxia Medical UniversityYinchuanChina

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