Purpose: CD44 is a cell surface receptor implicated in cancer progression and metastases. Malignant tumors may show a loss of CD44 splice control mechanisms. We investigated the role of CD44 splice variant expression in ovarian tumors and metastases, and its association with survival.
Experimental design: We tested CD44 expression in 142 cases of epithelial carcinoma of the ovary and 265 metastatic sites by immunohistochemistry.
Results: Survival analysis showed that the expression of CD44s, CD44-v4, -v5, -v6, -v9, and -v10 are significant predictors for survival in univariate analysis. After stage, the expression of CD44-v10 in metastases was the strongest predictor of decreased survival in multivariate analysis (p = 0.0009). Conversely, CD44-v10 expression in the primary tumor was an independent predictor of improved survival in multivariate analysis (p = 0.0002). The expression of CD44s in the tumor/stroma interface of the primary tumor was associated with improved survival (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: CD44 variant expression is a molecular prognostic maker for epithelial ovarian carcinomas. CD44-v10 expression is an independent prognostic indicator and the site of expression determines a positive or negative influence in survival. Our results also indicate that CD44 may be involved in important tumor/stroma interactions.