CD117+ cells in the circulation are predictive of advanced prostate cancer

Bethany A. Kerr, Ranko Miocinovic, Armine K. Smith, Xiaoxia Z. West, Katherine E. Watts, Amanda W. Alzayed, Joseph C. Klink, Maria C. Mir, Tiffany Sturey, Donna E. Hansel, Warren D. Heston, Andrew J. Stephenson, Eric A. Klein, Tatiana V. Byzova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are associated with cancer progression, aggressiveness and metastasis. However, the frequency and predictive value of CTCs in patients remains unknown. If circulating cells are involved in tumor aggressiveness and metastasis, then cell levels should decline upon tumor removal in localized cancer patients, but remain high in metastatic patients. Accordingly, proposed biomarkers CD117/c-kit, CD133, CXCR4/CD184, and CD34-positive cell percentages in the blood of patients undergoing radical prostatectomy for localized cancer were assessed by flow cytometry prior to intervention and 1-3 months postoperatively. Only circulating CD117+ cell percentages decreased after radical prostatectomy, increased with cancer progression and correlated with high PSA values. Notably, postoperative CD117+ levels did not decrease in patients experiencing biochemical recurrence. In a xenograft model, CD117-enriched tumors were more vascularized and aggressive. Thus, CD117 expression on CTCs promotes tumor progression and could be a biomarker for prostate cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and/or response to therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1889-1897
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015


  • CD117/c-kit
  • CD133
  • Prostate cancer
  • Tumor progression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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