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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 172913, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/172913
Research Article

Expression of EpCAM Increases in the Hepatitis B Related and the Treatment-Resistant Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Division of Gastroenterology, Tohoku University Hospital, 1-1 Seiryo-Machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8574, Japan

Received 11 September 2013; Revised 6 January 2014; Accepted 6 January 2014; Published 17 February 2014

Academic Editor: Mohammad Ahmad al-Shatouri

Copyright © 2014 Osamu Kimura et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Increasing evidence supports the important role of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Many reports suggest that epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is a useful marker for cancer stem cells in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To elucidate the mechanisms of cancer stem cells, the development of specific molecular targeted drugs has become very important. In the present study, we examined the EpCAM expression pattern and its characteristic expression in resected HCC. We studied the drug resistance of EpCAM expression cells. EpCAM expression was detected significantly more frequently with hepatitis B virus (HBV) than with other etiologies. In HCC resection patients who had received prior treatment (transcatheter arterial embolization or hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy), EpCAM was strongly expressed. In particular, very strong expression was observed after hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy. The PLC/PRF/5 human HCC cell line expressed bimodal EpCAM, and EpCAM-positive cells had CSC cell potency. The EpCAM expression in EpCAM-positive cells increased significantly by treatment with cisplatin. EpCAM-positive cells showed better viability than EpCAM-negative cells when treated with ciplatin. Collectively, our results suggest that cancer stem cells are highly expressed in hepatitis B and have potential anticancer drug resistance.