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Journal of Biomarkers
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 960862, 7 pages
Research Article

Immunoreactivity of Pluripotent Markers SSEA-5 and L1CAM in Human Tumors, Teratomas, and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

1Center for Hearing and Deafness, University at Buffalo, 3435 Main Street, Cary 137 Buffalo, NY 14214, USA
2Indiana University, Department of Biology, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
3Mount Sinai, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, New York, NY 10029, USA

Received 20 February 2013; Revised 29 April 2013; Accepted 8 May 2013

Academic Editor: Vincent Sapin

Copyright © 2013 Linda Cassidy 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.


Pluripotent stem cell markers can be useful for diagnostic evaluation of human tumors. The novel pluripotent marker stage-specific embryonic antigen-5 (SSEA-5) is expressed in undifferentiated human induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs), but little is known about SSEA-5 expression in other primitive tissues (e.g., human tumors). We evaluated SSEA-5 immunoreactivity patterns in human tumors, cell lines, teratomas, and iPS cells together with another pluripotent cell surface marker L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM). We tested two hypotheses: (1) SSEA-5 and L1CAM would be immunoreactive and colocalized in human tumors; (2) SSEA-5 and L1CAM immunoreactivity would persist in iPSCs following retinal differentiating treatment. SSEA-5 immunofluorescence was most pronounced in primitive tumors, such as embryonal carcinoma. In tumor cell lines, SSEA-5 was highly immunoreactive in Capan-1 cells, while L1CAM was highly immunoreactive in U87MG cells. SSEA-5 and L1CAM showed colocalization in undifferentiated iPSCs, with immunopositive iPSCs remaining after 20 days of retinal differentiating treatment. This is the first demonstration of SSEA-5 immunoreactivity in human tumors and the first indication of SSEA-5 and L1CAM colocalization. SSEA-5 and L1CAM warrant further investigation as potentially useful tumor markers for histological evaluation or as markers to monitor the presence of undifferentiated cells in iPSC populations prior to therapeutic use.