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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Jul-Aug;1769(7-8):437-42. Epub 2007 May 18.

Expression of HOXC9 and E2F2 are up-regulated in CD133(+) cells isolated from human astrocytomas and associate with transformation of human astrocytes.

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Departamento de Neurologia e Neurocirurgia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo-Escola Paulista de Medicina, São Paulo, CEP 04023-900, Brazil.


Comparative analysis of cancer stem cells with their neoplastic and non-neoplastic counterparts should help better understand the underlying molecular events leading to transformation and tumor dissemination. Here, we report a molecular signature comprised by genes with exclusive aberrant expression in CD133(+) cells, a reported subpopulation of tumorigenic stem-like cells, isolated from human glioblastomas. Microarrays covering 55,000 transcripts were used to compare gene expression profiles in purified subpopulations of CD133(+) and CD133(-) GBM cells. Sixteen genes, many of which not previously associated with astrocytomas, were found aberrantly expressed in CD133(+) cells, but not in CD133(-), when compared with corresponding non-neoplastic controls. Up-regulation of two of such genes, E2F2 and HOXC9, was detected in a set of 54 astrocytomas of different grades and significantly associated with malignancy. Due to their distinctive expression in CD133(+) cells, the use of E2F2 and HOXC9 as therapeutic targets for tumor eradication is suggested.

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