Basic Medicine, Oncology

Cancer Stem Cell Research (Miyagi Cancer Center)

To Explore the Mechanisms Underlying the Cancer Development and Challenge the Origin of Cancer Cells

Medical Sciences Course

  • Master / Doctoral Degree


TAMAI, KeiichiTAMAI, Keiichi
TAMAI, Keiichi

Professor, M.D. Ph.D.

  • TEL


  • Mail

    tamaikeiichi* (Please convert "*" into "@".)

*Concurrent Position

Research Theme

  • Characterization of cancer stem cells and the development of therapeutic strategy for cancer stem cells
  • Identification of the factors promoting cancer invasion and metastasis and the development of its therapeutic strategy
  • Exploration of biomarkers for various tumors
Research Keywords:

cancer stem cells, cancer development, biomarker

Technical Keywords:

cell isolation, cell culture, molecular biology, animal experiment, pathology

Laboratory Introduction

Recent studies suggested the presence of subpopulation of cancer stem cells (CSC) which initiate metastasis and resistance to therapy. CSCs may generate tumors through the stem cell processes of self-renewal and differentiation into multiple cell types. Increasing evidence suggests that epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT)-type cells share many biological characteristics with CSCs. Therefore, CSCs and/or EMT-type cells are likely to be the most effective targets for cancer therapy. On the other hand, CSC like cells have distinct metabolic profile. Cancer cells generally produce the energy by their anabolic metabolism (Warbrug effect). However, CSC like cells are shown to be less glycolytic and more dependent on mitochondrial respiration. Based upon these findings, we are studying about the correlation between the expression of molecules related with EMT or metabolism and cancer cell development in order to reveal the characteristics of CSCs of various origins.
We have “tissue bank” in which more than 2,000 matched pairs of frozen normal and cancer tissues from various organs were stored. We explore the molecules responsible for the enhancement of malignant phenotype of cancer cells by analyzing the expression levels of candidate molecules between cancer cells and their corresponding normal cells.

Figure 1. Characteristics of cancer stem cells

Figure 1. Characteristics of cancer stem cells

Figure 2. HOTAIR promotes anchorage-independent growth of gastric cancer cells

Figure 2. HOTAIR promotes anchorage-independent growth of gastric cancer cells

Recent Publications

  • H. Katayama, K. Tamai*, et al. Long non-coding RNA HOTAIR promotes cell migration by upregulating insulin growth factor-binding protein 2 in renal cell carcinoma, Sci Rep (7) 12016, 2017
  • Y. Fujisaka, T. Iwata, K. Tamai*, et al. Long non-coding RNA HOTAIR up-regulates chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 and promotes proliferation of macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells in hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines, Oncology Letters (in press)
  • M. Mochizuki, K. Tamai*, et al. CD271 regulates the proliferation and motility of hypopharyngeal cancer cells, Sci Rep (6) 30707, 2016
  • K. Tamai*, et al. Suppressive expression of CD274 increases tumorigenesis and cancer stem cell phenotypes in cholangiocarcinoma, Cancer Sci (105) 667-674, 2014