CD44+ slow-cycling tumor cell expansion is triggered by cooperative actions of Wnt and prostaglandin E2 in gastric tumorigenesis

Takatsugu Ishimoto, Hiroko Oshima, Masanobu Oshima, Kazuharu Kai, Ryota Torii, Takashi Masuko, Hideo Baba, Hideyuki Saya, Osamu Nagano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Similar to normal tissue stem cells, cancer stem cells (CSCs) are thought to be quiescent or slow-cycling and, thereby, insensitive to chemo- and radiotherapies. CD44, a cell surface component that interacts with the extracellular matrix, has been found to be highly expressed in CSCs of several solid tumors. However, the relevancy between CD44+ cells and slow-cycling cells and the underlying mechanisms for the emergence of CD44+ CSCs during tumorigenesis have not been elucidated. Here we show that a gastric gland residing at the squamo-columnar junction (SCJ) in normal mouse stomach contains CD44+ stem cell-like slow-cycling cells and that this characteristic CD44+ gland was expanded by prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and Wnt signaling in K19-Wnt1/C2mE mouse, a genetic mouse model for gastric tumorigenesis. The analysis of three transgenic mouse lines, K19-Wnt1, K19-C2mE and K19-Wnt1/C2mE, revealed that the expansion of CD44+ SCJ cells is triggered by PGE2-mediated signaling and is prominently enhanced by the addition of Wnt activation. Furthermore, each expanded CD44+ gland in gastric tumor of K19-Wnt1/C2mE mouse contains a few BrdU label-retaining quiescent or slow-cycling cells, suggesting that the CD44+ SCJ cells in normal mouse are candidates for the cell-of-origin of gastric CSCs. These observations suggest that PGE2-mediated inflammatory signaling and Wnt signaling cooperatively trigger the expansion of CD44+ slow-cycling stem-like cells in SCJ, leading to development of lethal gastric tumors in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-678
Number of pages6
JournalCancer science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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