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BMC Cancer. 2014 Sep 21;14:687. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-14-687.

Immunohistochemical analysis of cancer stem cell markers in pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy.

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Department of Gastoroenterological Surgery I, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, North 15, West 7, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.



Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been reported to play an important role in chemoradiation resistance. Although the association of CSC markers with clinicopathological outcomes after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (NACRT) has been reported in various types of cancers, there have been no such reports for pancreatic cancer. Here we examined the sequential changes in CSC marker expressions after NACRT in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PA) and the impact of these changes on the prognosis.


We used immunohistochemistry to evaluate the expressions of the CSC markers epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), CD24, CD44, CD133, CXCR4 and Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) in resected specimens obtained from 28 PA patients, and we compared these expressions with the patients' clinicopathological parameters and survival data.


The expression frequencies of CD44 and ALDH1 were significantly higher in the NACRT group (n = 17) compared to the non-NACRT group (n = 11), but the CD133 expression was significantly lower in the NACRT group. In the NACRT group, the expression of CD133 was inversely correlated with that of ALDH1, and CD133+/ALDH1- expression was associated with an unfavorable patient outcome.


This is the first report showing that NACRT may influence the expression frequencies of CD44, CD133 and ALDH1 in PA patients. Moreover, CD133 and ALDH1 expressions may be useful predictors of prognosis in PA patients who have received NACRT.

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