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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 1999 Nov;125(11):646-52.

Expression of CD44 variants in osteosarcoma.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Okayama University Medical School, Okayama 700-8558, Japan.


The standard form of CD44 (CD44H) is a transmembranous glycoprotein, widely distributed on a variety of human lymphoid cells, epithelial cells and tumours. CD44 has many variant forms, which are generated by alternative splicing. In recent years, CD44 has been reported to be related to the degree of tumour differentiation, tumour cell invasion, and metastasis. We investigated 44 tumour specimens in 39 patients with osteosarcoma immunochemically to analyse the expression of CD44 standard (CD44H) and variant exon-encoded gene products (CD44v3, v4, v5, v6, v7, v9, and v10). Furthermore, the relationship between CD44 expression and the clinical outcome of patients with osteosarcoma was analysed. Membrane accentuation and exclusive cytoplasmic reactivity were analysed as separate staining patterns. Tumour cells and some multinucleated giant cells were markedly stained. CD44H, v3, v4, v5, v6, v7, v9, and v10 were expressed in 85%, 49%, 54%, 59%, 46%, 5%, 28%, and 10% of the specimens respectively. The cumulative 5-year metastasis-free survival was 58% in CD44v6-negative cases and 24% in CD44v6-positive cases (P=0.046). However, the cumulative 5-year metastasis-free survival was not significantly different between cases positive and negative for other variants of CD44. Multivariate analysis (Cox proportional-hazard model) with CD44v6 expression (positive or negative), chemotherapy (intensive or non-intensive), tumour site (proximal or distal), and age (at least 30 years or less than 30 years) showed that expression of CD44v6 and chemotherapy were important prognostic factors in patients with osteosarcoma. Overexpression of CD44 isoforms containing variant v6 is correlated with poor prognosis in patients with osteosarcoma.

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