CD44 as a potential diagnostic tumor marker

Saudi Med J. 2015 Mar;36(3):273-9. doi: 10.15537/smj.2015.3.9622.


CD44 is a cellular protein that has been intensively studied in relation to carcinogenesis over the last decade. It is altered during inflammatory responses and cellular malfunctioning during tumor progression. Tumors of epithelial origin express CD44 in multiple isoforms called variants; some isoforms are related to specific cancer cells. An increase of CD44 specific isoforms is detected in certain leukemic proliferations. Most published data indicates a partial involvement of CD44 in cancer cells, either in invasiveness or self-renewability. However, there is still uncertainty regarding the exact mechanism by which CD44 participates in growth of cancer or the inflammatory response. This review focuses on CD44 prevalence in cancer cell. It considers tumorigenic behavior of cells that highly express CD44 as an early marker for neoplastic stem cell proliferation. We will discuss multiple examples of tumor in this paper, with an emphasis of 2 solid tumors; namely, breast and colon cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 3 / analysis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 3