CD44s+HCC cells have mesenchymal and tumor-initiating stem-like characteristics. (A) Protein expression of endogenous CD44s, c-Met, and mesenchymal markers. The data are representative of three independent experiments. (B) Relative mRNA expression of mRNAs encoding CD44, E-cadherin and c-Met normalized to the endogenous control GAPDH. Data represent mean ± SEM of triplicates, *p < 0.01. (C) Tumorsphere assay was performed for two weeks in non-adherent culture plates and the numbers of tumorspheres were counted. The data represent the mean ± SEM of triplicates, *p < 0.01. Phase-contrast images are representative of triplicates (40X magnification). (D) HCC cells were treated with sorafenib for 24 h. Endogenous protein expression of apoptotic markers PARP, cleaved PARP, and B-actin were measured via western blotting. Presented densitometry values represent relative expression relative to total PARP after normalization to B-actin.