An intensive search continues for reliable markers that would be clinically useful in the diagnosis of small tumors and in the evaluation of their predicted clinical outcome. One potential marker, extensively studied in human samples is the cell surface adhesion molecule CD44. The single CD44 gene codes for a large family of cell surface proteins by alternative splicing and severe abnormalities have been observed in the patterns of its expression in many types of human tumors using both protein and RNA-based analyses. These abnormalities are manifested by markedly increased levels of unusual transcripts and proteins in tumor cells compared to the corresponding normal tissues. Aberrant processing of immature CD44 transcripts has also been observed in tumor cells and this can lead to the inappropriate retention of introns and to the use of cryptic splice sites in the mRNA. Inappropriate expression patterns of the alternatively spliced exons have also been linked both to tumor progression and to metastatic potential. The clinical relevance of all these observations is demonstrated by the frequent detection of these abnormalities in samples from malignant tumors of many different organs and by their presence in pre-invasive and high risk pre-cancerous lesions. This article reviews the current information regarding the expression of the CD44 gene in tumor cells and its potential use as a marker in clinical evaluation. The overall conclusion is that with the use of the latest assay techniques and perhaps in combination with other molecular markers, analysis of CD44 expression can provide new and powerful assays for the detection of neoplastic disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Frontiers in bioscience : a journal and virtual library|
|State||Published - Jul 1 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)