Aims: Expression of the v6 variant isoform of CD44 has been causally associated with the development of metastases. This study, using immunohistochemical techniques, examined the prognostic significance of CD44s and CD44v6 expression.
Methods: A cohort of 109 women presenting with stage 2 breast cancer, with a minimum follow-up of 5 years, were assessed.
Results: Eighty percent of patients demonstrated CD44v6 expression on immunohistochemical studies. CD44v6 expression in tissue sections was found to be independent of age, tumour size, grade, and lymph-node status. No significant association was demonstrated between CD44v6 expression and either disease-free or overall survival. Similar findings were observed for CD44s.
Conclusions: CD44s and CD44v6 do not appear to be useful as prognostic indicators in early breast cancer. The increased expression of variant CD44 isoforms seen in breast neoplasia may merely be a marker for loss of control of alternative splicing within tumour tissue.
Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Limited.