Based on the important role of CD44 in tumour progression and metastasis, we evaluated, in a prospective study, plasma-soluble CD44 (sCD44) as a serum marker in colorectal cancer. Blood plasma specimens from 89 patients with colorectal neoplasm, 22 patients with a gastrointestinal disease and 23 healthy donors were analysed for quantitation (ELISA assay) and purification of sCD44. The concentration of sCD44, indicating the concentration of all isoforms, was significantly higher in patients with colorectal cancer and intestinal disease than in normal individuals, but no significant differences were found between the two groups. We found no association between plasma levels and staging of the colorectal cancer patients according to Astler and Coller. A two-step batch purification combining ion exchange and immunoaffinity chromatography, followed by Western blot analysis, revealed a complex pattern with a major band corresponding to the standard form of CD44 and minor bands that may correspond to larger variant forms. No particular sCD44 isoform was clearly associated with anatomopathological or biological information.