CD34+ Liver Cancer Stem Cells Were Formed by Fusion of Hepatobiliary Stem/Progenitor Cells with Hematopoietic Precursor-Derived Myeloid Intermediates

Changjun Zeng, Yanling Zhang, Su Cheol Park, Jong Ryeol Eun, Ngoc Tue Nguyen, Benjamin Tschudy-Seney, Yong Jin Jung, Neil D. Theise, Mark A Zern, YuYou Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A large number of cancer stem cells (CSCs) were identified and characterized; however, the origins and formation of CSCs remain elusive. In this study, we examined the origination of the newly identified CD34+ liver CSC (LCSC). We found that CD34+ LCSC coexpressed liver stem cell and myelomonocytic cell markers, showing a mixed phenotype, a combination of hepatobiliary stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) and myelomonocytic cells. Moreover, human xenografts produced by CD34+ LCSCs and the parental cells, which CD34+ LCSC was isolated from, coexpressed liver cancer and myelomonocytic markers, also demonstrating mixed phenotypes. The xenografts and the parental cells secreted albumin demonstrating their hepatocyte origin and also expressed cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1b, IL-6, IL-12A, IL-18, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and CSF1] and chemokines (IL-8, CCL2, and CCL5). Expression of these cytokines and chemokines responded to the stimuli [interferon-γ (INF-γ), IL-4, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)]. Furthermore, human xenografts and the parental cells phagocytized Escherichia coli. CD34+ LCSC coexpressed CD45, demonstrating that its origin appears to be from a hematopoietic precursor. The percentage of cells positive for OV6, CD34, and CD31, presenting the markers of HSPC, hematopoietic, and myelomonocytic cells, increased under treatment of CD34+ LCSC with a drug. Cytogenetic analysis showed that CD34+ LCSC contained a greater number of chromosomes. HBV DNA integrations and mutations in CD34+ LCSC and the parental cells were identical to those in the literature or the database. Thus, these results demonstrated that CD34+ LCSCs were formed by fusion of HSPC with CD34+ hematopoietic precursor-derived myeloid intermediates; it appears that this is the first report that human CSCs have been formed by the fusion. Therefore, it represents a significant step toward better understanding of the formation of human CSC and the diverse origins of liver cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2467-2478
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Hematology


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