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Urol Oncol. 2014 Jul;32(5):678-86. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2014.01.001. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Expression and prognostic significance of cancer stem cell markers CD24 and CD44 in urothelial bladder cancer xenografts and patients undergoing radical cystectomy.

Author information

  • 1Division of Stem Cells and Cancer, HI-STEM gGmbH, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany; Department of Urology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:
  • 2Institute of Pathology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; Clinical Cooperation Unit Molecular Tumor Pathology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • 3Division of Stem Cells and Cancer, HI-STEM gGmbH, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.
  • 4Division of Stem Cells and Cancer, HI-STEM gGmbH, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:



To evaluate CD24/CD44/CD47 cancer stem cell marker expressions in bladder cancer (BCa) and provide data on their prognostic significance for clinical outcome in patients undergoing radical cystectomy (RC).


Primary BCa tissue was used for xenograft studies. A tissue microarray was prepared using specimens from a cohort of 132 patients. All patients underwent RC for urothelial BCa between 2001 and 2010. Expression of CD24, CD44, and CD47 was examined in primary samples and xenografts by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Populations of CD24(low)- and CD24(high)-expressing cells were sorted and evaluated for tumorigenicity in vivo. Tissue microarray was analyzed for CD24/CD44 staining intensity and tumor-specific vs. stromal cell staining. Associations with BCa survival, BCa stage, and lymph node status were evaluated by univariate and multivariate analyses.


CD24 and CD44/CD47 expressions mark distinct cell populations within the normal urothelium as well as in BCa. CD24(high/low) expression was not sufficient to characterize CD24 as a BCa-initiating marker in in vivo primary xenotransplants. CD24 and CD44 expressions correlated with lower cancer-specific survival in patients. However, multivariate analyses of CD24 or CD44 did not demonstrate significantly increased hazards for cancer-specific death if analyzed together with stage, grade, and nodal status of patients.


Cancer stem cell markers CD24/CD44/CD47 are differentially expressed in cells of urothelial BCa in patients undergoing RC and influence cancer-specific survival of patients. Further evaluation of CD24/CD44/CD47 protein expression could be of high therapeutic value in BCa. However, both CD24 and CD44 expressions cannot be regarded as independent prognostic parameters for patients undergoing RC.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Bladder cancer; CD24; CD44; CD47; Survival; Urothelial cancer

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