Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(10):1127-1139. doi:10.7150/ijbs.11946

Research Paper

Persistence of CD34 Stem Marker in Human Lipoma: Searching for Cancer Stem Cells

Barbara Zavan2*, Francesco De Francesco1*✉, Francesco D'Andrea1, Letizia Ferroni2, Chiara Gardin2, Rosa Salzillo1, Gianfranco Nicoletti1, Giuseppe A. Ferraro1

1. Multidisciplinary Department of Medical-Surgical and Dental Specialties, Second University of Naples, L. De Crecchio, 6, 80138, Naples (Italy)
2. Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua, Ugo Bassi, 58/B, 35131, Padua (Italy)
* These authors contributed equally to the work


Background: Lipomas are benign solid tumours that develop in soft tissues with origin in mesenchymal progenitors. Macroscopically, they appear as soft-elastic nodules, varying in volume from a few millimiters to several centimetres and can enlarge progressively. Although they are usually asymptomatic, they can cause symptoms due to nerve or vessel compression. Microscopically they appear as fibrous connective tissue stroma with embedded adipocytes, and absence of inflammation. Up to now no characterisation of stem cell population present in this tissue has been performed.

Methods: Cytofluorimetric, biological and molecular biology analyses have been performed in order to test superficial cell markers and gene expression profile related to stemness and apoptotic activity of cells present in lipoma tissues compared to those of adipose tissue's cells.

Results: Our results confirmed that CD34+ cells in lipoma were present around small adipocytes, showing several altered biological activity such as proliferation, apoptotis and stemness.

Conclusions: The data emerging from the comparison of the lipoma cells and normal adipose tissue, suggests the presence of cell precursors involved in the development of the lipoma. This hypothesis requires further investigation and may indicate new thresholds in the study of benign tumour pathogenesis.

Keywords: CD34, lipoma, cancer stem cells.

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How to cite this article:
Zavan B, De Francesco F, D'Andrea F, Ferroni L, Gardin C, Salzillo R, Nicoletti G, Ferraro GA. Persistence of CD34 Stem Marker in Human Lipoma: Searching for Cancer Stem Cells. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(10):1127-1139. doi:10.7150/ijbs.11946. Available from