Journal of proteome research

Tenascin-C: a novel candidate marker for cancer stem cells in glioblastoma identified by tissue microarrays.

PMID 25469866


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly aggressive brain tumor, with dismal survival outcomes. Recently, cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been demonstrated to play a role in therapeutic resistance and are considered to be the most likely cause of cancer relapse. The identification of CSCs is an important step toward finding new and effective ways to treat GBM. Tenascin-C (TNC) protein has been identified as a potential marker for CSCs in gliomas based on previous work. Here, we have investigated the expression of TNC in tissue microarrays including 17 GBMs, 18 WHO grade III astrocytomas, 15 WHO grade II astrocytomas, 4 WHO grade I astrocytomas, and 7 normal brain tissue samples by immunohistochemical staining. TNC expression was found to be highly associated with the grade of astrocytoma. It has a high expression level in most of the grade III astrocytomas and GBMs analyzed and a very low expression in most grade II astrocytomas, whereas it is undetectable in grade I astrocytomas and normal brain tissues. Double-immunofluorescence staining for TNC and CD133 in GBM tissues revealed that there was a high overlap between theses two positive populations. The results were further confirmed by flow cytometry analysis of TNC and CD133 in GBM-derived stem-like neurospheres in vitro. A limiting dilution assay demonstrated that the sphere formation ability of CD133(+)/TNC(+) and CD133(-)/TNC(+) cell populations is much higher than that of the CD133(+)/TNC(-) and CD133(-)/TNC(-) populations. These results suggest that TNC is not only a potential prognostic marker for GBM but also a potential marker for glioma CSCs, where the TNC(+) population is identified as a CSC population overlapping with part of the CD133(-) cell population.