Increased serum levels of soluble CD44 standard, but not of variant isoforms v5 and v6, in B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia

G. De Rossi, P. Marroni, M. Paganuzzi, F. R. Mauro, C. Tenca, D. Zarcone, A. Velardi, S. Molica, C. E. Grossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Adhesion molecules
  • B-CLL
  • CD44

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Increased serum levels of soluble CD44 standard, but not of variant isoforms v5 and v6, in B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this