Background: CD44s is a cell adhesion molecule known to mediate cellular adhesion to the extracellular matrix, a prerequisite for tumor cell migration. CD44s plays an important role in invasion and metastasis of various cancers. In the present study, we sought to determine whether CD44s is involved in clinical outcomes of patients with resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods: Using immunohistochemical staining, we investigated CD44s protein expression using tissue array specimens from 159 patients with resected NSCLC (adenocarcinoma (AC; n=82) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC; n=77). Additionally, the immunoreactivity of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 was also studied. The clinicopathological implications of these molecules were analyzed statistically.
Results: High CD44s expression was detected more frequently in NSCLC patients with SCC (66/72; 91.7%) than in those with AC histology (P<0.001). Additionally, high CD44s expression was significant correlated with more advanced regional lymph node metastasis (P=0.021). In multivariate analysis of survival in NSCLC patients with AC histology, significant predictors were lymph node metastasis status (P<0.001), high-grade tumor differentiation (P=0.046), and high CD44s expression (P=0.014). For NSCLC patients with SCC histology, the significant predictor was a more advanced tumor stage (P=0.015). No significant association was found between CD44s and clinical outcome (P=0.311).
Conclusions: High CD44s expression was a negative prognostic marker with significance in patients with resected NSCLC, particularly those with AC histology, and was independent of tumor stage.