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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2013, Article ID 782581, 12 pages
Research Article

Expression of Potential Cancer Stem Cell Marker ABCG2 is Associated with Malignant Behaviors of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210008, China
2Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Drum Tower Clinical Medical College of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210008, China
3School of Medicine, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093, China

Received 30 July 2013; Accepted 27 August 2013

Academic Editor: Qiang Xia

Copyright © 2013 Guang Zhang 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.


Background. Despite improvement in treatment, the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains disastrous. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) may be responsible for cancer malignant behaviors. ATP-binding cassette, subfamily G, member 2 (ABCG2) is widely expressed in both normal and cancer stem cells and may play an important role in cancer malignant behaviors. Methods. The expression of ABCG2 in HCC tissues and SMMC-7721 cells was examined, and the relevance of ABCG2 expression with clinical characteristics was analyzed. ABCG2+ and ABCG2− cells were sorted, and the potential of tumorigenicity was determined. Expression level of ABCG2 was manipulated by RNA interference and overexpression. Malignant behaviors including proliferation, drug resistance, migration, and invasion were studied in vitro. Results. Expression of ABCG2 was found in a minor group of cells in HCC tissues and cell lines. ABCG2 expression showed tendencies of association with unfavorable prognosis factors. ABCG2 positive cells showed a superior tumorigenicity. Upregulation of ABCG2 enhanced the capacity of proliferation, doxorubicin resistance, migration, and invasion potential, while downregulation of ABCG2 significantly decreased these malignant behaviors. Conclusion. Our results indicate that ABCG2 is a potential CSC marker for HCC. Its expression level has a close relationship with tumorigenicity, proliferation, drug resistance, and metastasis ability.