CD44 is a widely distributed set of cell surface glycoproteins expressed in several types of cells and tissues, implicated in cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions. This molecule plays a major role in cell differentiation, development and activation and has also been described as a potential marker of malignancy and metastasis. In the present study we investigated by RT-PCR followed by exon specific amplification the expression of CD44 splice variants in four different murine tumors as well as in the invaded organs in order to correlate the expression of CD44 variants with potential tumor invasiveness and their implications for growth. Our data showed deregulation in the expression of CD44 isoforms but no discernible correlation in isoform expression pattern. However, in all tumors studied isoforms presented by the primary tumor were detected in the invaded organs before metastasis could be demonstrated by histopathological analysis.
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