Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 53, Issue 7, pp 567–579

CD44v6: a target for antibody-based cancer therapy

  • Karl-Heinz Heider
  • Hartmut Kuthan
  • Gerd Stehle
  • Gerd Munzert


The human CD44 gene encodes type 1 transmembrane glycoproteins involved in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. The structural heterogeneity of the gene products is caused primarily by alternative splicing of at least 10 out of 20 exons. Certain CD44 variant isoforms, in particular those containing CD44 variant domain 6 (CD44v6), have been implicated in tumourigenesis, tumour cell invasion and metastasis. Here we will give an overview of immunohistochemically determined CD44v6 expression in human malignancies (primary epithelial and nonepithelial tumours as well as metastases) and normal tissues, and review several examples of the clinical use of CD44v6-specific antibodies. In nonmalignant tissues, CD44v6 expression is essentially restricted to a subset of epithelia. Intense and homogeneous expression of CD44v6 was reported for the majority of squamous cell carcinomas and a proportion of adenocarcinomas of differing origin, but was rarely seen in nonepithelial tumours. This expression pattern has made CD44v6 an attractive target for antibody-guided therapy of various types of epithelium-derived cancers.


Bivatuzumab CD44v6 immunohistochemistry Monoclonal antibody Tumour therapy 



type 1 transmembrane glycoprotein, cell surface receptor for hyaluronate

CD44s (CD44H)

standard form of CD44


splice variant exon 6 of CD44


common toxicity criteria

2F10, VFF4, VFF7, VFF18 (BIWA 1), U36, V6B3, HB-256, Var 3.1

monoclonal antibodies targeting the CD44v6 antigen


squamous cell carcinoma


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl-Heinz Heider
    • 1
  • Hartmut Kuthan
    • 2
  • Gerd Stehle
    • 2
  • Gerd Munzert
    • 2
  1. 1.Boehringer Ingelheim AustriaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Boehringer Ingelheim PharmaBiberachGermany

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