Cancer cell

1B50-1, a mAb raised against recurrent tumor cells, targets liver tumor-initiating cells by binding to the calcium channel α2δ1 subunit.

PMID 23597567


The identification and targeted therapy of cells involved in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence remain challenging. Here, we generated a monoclonal antibody against recurrent HCC, 1B50-1, that bound the isoform 5 of the α2δ1 subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels and identified a subset of tumor-initiating cells (TICs) with stem cell-like properties. A surgical margin with cells detected by 1B50-1 predicted rapid recurrence. Furthermore, 1B50-1 had a therapeutic effect on HCC engraftments by eliminating TICs. Finally, α2δ1 knockdown reduced self-renewal and tumor formation capacities and induced apoptosis of TICs, whereas its overexpression led to enhanced sphere formation, which is regulated by calcium influx. Thus, α2δ1 is a functional liver TIC marker, and its inhibitors may serve as potential anti-HCC drugs.