Clonal dominance of CD133+ subset population as risk factor in tumor progression and disease recurrence of human cutaneous melanoma

Bhuvnesh K. Sharma, V. Manglik, Michael O'Connell, Ashani Weeraratna, Edward C. McCarron, Jennifer N. Broussard, Kyle A. DiVito, Cynthia M. Simbulan-Rosenthal, Dean S. Rosenthal, John L. Zapas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Chemotherapeutic refractoriness of advanced cutaneous melanoma may be linked with melanoma-initiating cells, also known as melanoma stem cells. This study aimed to determine relative risk of clonal dominance of the CD133 + phenotype in tissues from melanoma patients with different clinical outcomes that could be applied to early diagnosis, prognosis or disease monitoring. Significant overexpression of CD133 (p<0.02) was observed by immunohistochemical staining in tissues from patients with recurrent disease versus those without disease recurrence. Relative risk analysis between these two groups suggested that the patients with recurrence or metastatic lesion had a greater than 2-fold overexpression of CD133. In addition, immunodetectable CD133 corroborated with upregulation of CD133 RNA levels (14- to 30-fold) as assessed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) comparison of melanoma cell lines derived from patients with poor clinical outcomes and short overall survival (<10 months), vs. those derived from patients with good clinical outcomes and longer overall survival (>24 months). Further, cells derived from patients, and MACS-sorted according to their CD133 status retained their CD133-positivity (>95%) or CD133-negativity (>95%) for more than 8 passages in culture. CD133+ cells could repopulate and form tumors (p<0.03) in athymic NCr-nu/nu mice within 8 weeks while no tumors were observed with CD133- phenotype (up to 200,000 cells). Taken together, the study demonstrates, for the first time, that there exists a clonal dominance of a CD133+ population within the hierarchy of cells in cutaneous tissues from patients that have undergone successive progressive stages of melanoma, from primary to metastatic lesions. CD133, thus, provides a predictive marker of disease as well as a potential therapeutic target of high-risk melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1570-1576
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • CD133
  • Disease recurrence
  • Human melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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