hDlk-1: a cell surface marker common to normal hepatic stem/progenitor cells and carcinomas.

Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, Medical Research Institute, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8510, Japan.
Journal of Biochemistry (Impact Factor: 3.07). 06/2012; 152(2):121-3. DOI: 10.1093/jb/mvs069
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Advances in stem cell biology have clarified that a tumour is a collection of heterogeneous cell populations, and that only a small fraction of tumour cells possesses the potential to self-renew. Delta-like 1 protein (Dlk-1) is a surface antigen present on foetal hepatic stem/progenitor cells but absent from mature hepatocytes in neonatal and adult rodent liver. Using a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against hDlk-1, Yanai et al. (Dlk-1, a cell surface antigen on foetal hepatic stem/progenitor cells, is expressed in hepatocellular, colon, pancreas and breast carcinomas at a high frequency. J. Biochem. 2010;148:85-92) have shown that human (h) Dlk-1 is expressed in human foetal, but not adult, liver and that 20% of all hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) are hDlk-1(+). Importantly, an even higher percentage of HCCs in younger patients are hDLK-1(+). These authors also found that hDlk-1 is present at high frequency in colon adenocarcinomas, pancreatic islet carcinomas and small cell lung carcinomas. Here, I discuss the implications of the expression of foetal hepatic stem/progenitor cell antigens on carcinoma cells.

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