The CD44 cell surface proteoglycan participates in a variety of functions including lymphohematopoiesis, lymphocyte homing and tumor metastasis. In addition to the standard form (CD44st), a large family of variant isoforms (CD44v) is generated by alternative splicing of a single gene. Certain CD44v (v5 and V6) are upregulated in the course of neoplastic progression and reflect the metastatic potential of tumor cells. CD44 v6 is expressed in high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells and is released in the serum, thus providing a soluble marker that reflects tumor burden, disease progression and treatment response. Here we show that serum CD44st is elevated in approximately half of B-CLL patients. In contrast, CD44v5 and v6 are detected at normal levels in the large majority of the cases. CD44st serum levels correlate significantly with the number of circulating leukemic B cells and with the levels of another soluble B-CLL marker, β 2-microglobulin. Immunoprecipitation analyses of B-CLL sera allow detection of several high molecular weight bands and of a 78 kDa band that represents a soluble form of CD44st and is 4 kDa lower than a similar band (82 kDa) detected in B-CLL cell lysates. Elevated serum CD44st associates with a number of unfavorable prognostic factors such as high peripheral blood lymphocytosis, splenomegaly, advanced disease stage and therapy requirement. A follow-up study indicates that serum levels of CD44st are related to disease status, thus reinforcing our view that this molecule may represent a reliable tumor marker in B-CLL.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|
- Adhesion molecules
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research