The Role of Cripto-1 in Cancer and Cancer Stem Cells

Hideaki Karasawa, Nadia P. Castro, Maria Cristina Rangel, David S. Salomon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Cripto-1 is highly expressed in undifferentiated pluripotential human and mouse embryonic stem cells. Cripto-1 is re-expressed in a variety of human tumors, promoting cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Cripto-1 expression is very low or absent in the adult mouse and human tissues. During embryogenesis, Cripto-1 functions as a co-receptor for TGF-β family ligands, such as Nodal, and growth and differentiation factor-1 and -3. Cripto-1 can also activate the c-src/mitogen-activated protein kinase/phosphatidylinositol 3′ kinase/Akt signaling pathway, which is strongly involved in mediating the oncogenic activity of Cripto-1. Furthermore, Cripto-1 is enriched in a stem-like cancer cell subpopulation in embryonal carcinoma, malignant melanoma, and prostate carcinoma cells. Thus, Cripto-1 has been considered to play an important role not only during early embryogenesis but also in the malignant progression of tumors. In view of that, Cripto-1 targeting therapy might have a significant potential role of targeting cancer stem cells and provide new insight into future cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCancer Stem Cells
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781118356203
ISBN (Print)9781118356166
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr 14


  • Cancer stem cells (CSC)
  • Cancer therapy
  • Cripto-1 expression
  • Cripto-1 oncogenic activities
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • IPS cells
  • Mammary tumorigenesis


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