Co-Expression of Putative Cancer Stem Cell Markers, CD133 and Nestin, in Skin Tumors

  • Sabet, Mehrdad Nasrollahzadeh (Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Rakhshan, Azadeh (Department of Pathology, Shohada-e-Tajrish Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Erfani, Elham (Oncopathology Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Madjd, Zahra (Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences)
  • Published : 2014.10.23


Background: Cancer stem cells (CSC) are populations of cells responsible for tumor initiation, progression and therapeutic resistance in many cancers. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the expression pattern and clinical significance of two CSC markers, CD133 and Nestin, in a series of skin tumors. Materials and Methods: One hundred and thirteen paraffin blocks from skin cancers including 16 (14%) cases of melanoma, 37 (33%) of squamous cell cancer (SCC) and 60 (53%) of basal cell cancer (BCC) were collected and assembled in a tissue microarray (TMA). The samples were immunohistochemically examined for the expression of CD133 and Nestin. Expression of these markers was also correlated with clinicopathological parameters. Results: A significant difference was observed in the expression of CD133 and Nestin in melanomas, SCC and BCC (p value=0.001). Furthermore, the level of expression was significantly higher in the melanomas compared to the SCC and BCC tumors. Expression of CD133 in the melanoma was significantly associated with increased tumor invasiveness (p value=0.05), a higher rate of metastasis (p value=0.04) and the presence of ulceration (p value=0.02). Increased expression of Nestin was observed in metastatic melanoma (p value=0.04), while no statistically significant correlation was found with other clinicopathological parameters including Breslow thickness, Clark level and ulceration. Conclusions: Elevated expression levels of CD133 and Nestin in the melanomas are associated with advanced disease, with more aggressive and metastatic skin tumors. Therefore, these markers could be potential therapeutic targets for malignant tumors of the skin.


Cancer stem cells;melanoma;SCC;BCC;CD133;Nestin


Supported by : Iran University of Medical Sciences


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