AJTR Copyright © 2009-All rights reserved. Published by e-Century Publishing Corporation, Madison, WI 53711
Am J Translational Res 2010;2(2):135-144

Original Article
CD133, Trop-2 and α2β1 integrin surface receptors as markers of
putative human prostate cancer stem cells

Marco Trerotola, Swati Rathore, Hira Lal Goel, Jing Li, Saverio Alberti, Mauro Piantelli, Dave Adams, Zhong Jiang,
Lucia R. Languino

Department of Cancer Biology, Prostate Cancer Discovery and Development Program, University of
Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA; Department of Biology/Biotechnology, Worcester
Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609, USA; Unit of Cancer Pathology, Department of Oncology
and Neurosciences and CeSI, Foundation University “G. d’Annunzio”, Chieti Scalo, Italy; Department of Pathology,
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.

Received March 3, 2010; accepted March 10, 2010, available online March 15, 2010

Abstract: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play a key role in initiation and development of cancer and are attractive
targets for therapy. The identification of CSC surface receptors to be used as therapeutic targets in vivo remains a
difficult task. In this study, we assessed the expression pattern of three surface receptors: CD133, Trop-2 and
α2β1 integrin in human prostate cancer in order to identify CSC-niches. CD133 was found to be expressed in
small clusters of cells localized in focal areas of benign as well as malignant lesions, suggesting this protein as
a bona fide marker of the stem compartment. Trop-2 was localized in both basal and luminal layers of benign
glands and was highly expressed in malignant lesions. Moreover, isolated cells in benign and malignant areas
were found to co-express both CD133 and Trop-2. α2β1 integrin was expressed in the prostatic epithelium as
well as in the surrounding stroma, limiting its utility as a marker of CSCs. In summary, we demonstrate that the
combination of CD133 and Trop-2 is useful to mark putative CSC-containing compartments in human prostate.

Key words: Prostate cancer, cancer stem cells, CD133, Trop-2, α2β1 integrin, immunohistochemistry

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Address all correspondence to:
Department of Cancer Biology
Prostate Cancer Discovery and Development Program
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worcester, MA 01605, USA