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Home > Organization > Divisions and Independent Research Units > Group for Translational Research > Division of Molecular and Cellular Medicine > Research Projects > Targeting Cancer Stem Cells

Targeting Cancer Stem Cells

Intratumoral heterogeneity is thought to be generated during 1) the process of tumor formation and metastasis, and 2) the course of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In both cases, a specific cell population known as “cancer stem cells” possess characteristics such as tumorigenicity and resistance to cancer therapy, and are considered to give rise to phenotypically diverse progenies, resulting in intratumoral heterogeneity. Therefore, in the establishment of new therapeutic methods and drug development for treatment-resistant cancer, important approaches are to suppress treatment-resistant traits and to identify specific molecules expressed in cancer stem cells. In this project, we have successfully identified cell surface markers and molecular groups that are selectively expressed in a cancer stem cell population of several types of cancers, including breast cancer (see ref.). We continue to search for novel molecules as therapeutic targets.



1: Takahashi RU, Prieto-Vila M, Hironaka A, Ochiya T. The role of extracellular
vesicle microRNAs in cancer biology. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2017 May 1;55(5):648-656.
doi: 10.1515/cclm-2016-0708. Review. PubMed PMID: 28231055.

2: Katsuda T, Kawamata M, Hagiwara K, Takahashi RU, Yamamoto Y, Camargo FD,
Ochiya T. Conversion of Terminally Committed Hepatocytes to Culturable Bipotent
Progenitor Cells with Regenerative Capacity. Cell Stem Cell. 2017 Jan
5;20(1):41-55. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.10.007. Epub 2016 Nov 10. PubMed PMID:27840021. 

3: Ishiguro T, Sato A, Ohata H, Ikarashi Y, Takahashi RU, Ochiya T, Yoshida M,Tsuda H, Onda T, Kato T, Kasamatsu T, Enomoto T, Tanaka K, Nakagama H, Okamoto K.Establishment and Characterization of an In Vitro Model of Ovarian Cancer
Stem-like Cells with an Enhanced Proliferative Capacity. Cancer Res. 2016 Jan1;76(1):150-60. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-0361. Epub 2015 Dec 15. PubMedPMID: 26669863.

4: Fujita T, Chiwaki F, Takahashi RU, Aoyagi K, Yanagihara K, Nishimura T,
Tamaoki M, Komatsu M, Komatsuzaki R, Matsusaki K, Ichikawa H, Sakamoto H, Yamada
Y, Fukagawa T, Katai H, Konno H, Ochiya T, Yoshida T, Sasaki H. Identification
and Characterization of CXCR4-Positive Gastric Cancer Stem Cells. PLoS One. 2015
Jun 25;10(6):e0130808. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130808. eCollection 2015.
PubMed PMID: 26110809; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4481351.

5: Takahashi RU, Miyazaki H, Takeshita F, Yamamoto Y, Minoura K, Ono M, Kodaira
M, Tamura K, Mori M, Ochiya T. Loss of microRNA-27b contributes to breast cancer
stem cell generation by activating ENPP1. Nat Commun. 2015 Jun 12;6:7318. doi:
10.1038/ncomms8318. PubMed PMID: 26065921; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4490376. 

6: Takahashi RU, Miyazaki H, Ochiya T. The Roles of MicroRNAs in Breast Cancer.
Cancers (Basel). 2015 Apr 9;7(2):598-616. doi: 10.3390/cancers7020598. Review.
PubMed PMID: 25860815; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4491673.

7: Fujiwara T, Katsuda T, Hagiwara K, Kosaka N, Yoshioka Y, Takahashi RU,
Takeshita F, Kubota D, Kondo T, Ichikawa H, Yoshida A, Kobayashi E, Kawai A,
Ozaki T, Ochiya T. Clinical relevance and therapeutic significance of
microRNA-133a expression profiles and functions in malignant
osteosarcoma-initiating cells. Stem Cells. 2014 Apr;32(4):959-73. doi:10.1002/stem.1618. PubMed PMID: 24715690. 

8: Takahashi RU, Miyazaki H, Ochiya T. The role of microRNAs in the regulation of
cancer stem cells. Front Genet. 2014 Jan 3;4:295. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2013.00295.
Review. PubMed PMID: 24427168; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3879439.

9: Takahashi RU, Takeshita F, Honma K, Ono M, Kato K, Ochiya T. Ribophorin II
regulates breast tumor initiation and metastasis through the functional
suppression of GSK3β. Sci Rep. 2013;3:2474. doi: 10.1038/srep02474. PubMed PMID:
23959174; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3747512.