Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 209–219 | Cite as

The clinical significance of malfunction of the CD44 locus in malignancy

  • D. Tarin
  • J. Bolodeoku
  • S. J. Hatfill
  • T. Sugino
  • A. C. Woodman
  • K. Yoshida
Section II: CD44 Expression in Human Systemic Tumors


This brief overview indicates that a large amount of intriguing information has emerged in the last few years about the unusual activity of the CD44 gene in neoplasia. It is a large gene and potentially could produce the most alternative splicing combinations yet described for any locus [1]. Although it is not yet known whether some of these are biologically inadmissable, several different isoforms containing various exon combinations have so far been detected. Therefore, it is likely that unravelling whether the observed disturbances in its regulation are causally involved in tumour induction and/or progression, or are merely consequences of other events, will take much time and effort.

From a clinical standpoint the observations already made by several independent groups indicate that derangements at the CD44 locus may be sufficiently frequent and consistent to be a useful marker for early detection of certain types of malignancy. Further studies will establish whether or not there is a direct link between expression of certain CD44 splice variants and tumour invasion or metastasis. The results could have implications for evaluation of prognosis of individual patients in clinical work, but it is too early to comment further. Given that many genes show tissue specific patterns of expression in adult organs, it is possible that the detection of abnormal CD44 activity may only have clinical utility for tumour detection in some sites and not others. Even so, the results which have accumulated to date indicate that further investigation of the pleomorphic activities of this unusual gene may provide data which illuminate the pathogenesis of aggressive neoplastic behaviour. The clinical challenge is to try to convert the fundamental and promising information so far obtained into practical advances in the early diagnosis and treatment of malignancy.

Key words

RT-PCR CD44s CD44v metastasis 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Tarin
    • 1
  • J. Bolodeoku
    • 1
  • S. J. Hatfill
    • 1
  • T. Sugino
    • 1
  • A. C. Woodman
    • 1
  • K. Yoshida
    • 1
  1. 1.Nuffield Department of PathologyJohn Radcliffe Hospital, University of OxfordOxfordUK

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