The outcome of breast carcinoma is usually determined by multiple factors. Aberrant expression of the cell adhesion molecule CD 44 has been claimed to be associated with poor prognosis in various human malignancies. This study was designed to investigate any correlation between the soluble adhesion molecule CD 44 and the clinicopathologic variables and to evaluate the possible prognostic significance of soluble CD 44. Venous blood samples were preoperatively collected from 100 patients with invasive breast carcinoma. The serum levels of different soluble CD 44 molecules (CD 44 standard form and CD 44 splice variant V6) were measured with an enzyme immunoassay method. The data of primary tumor status, age, estrogen receptor status, lymph node status, histologic grading, distant metastases status, TNM staging, S-phase fraction, and ploidy pattern were collected and evaluated simultaneously with the serum levels of soluble CD 44 st and CD 44 V6. Twenty healthy subjects were used as the control group. The serum levels of soluble CD 44 st showed no significant elevation in patient group. The mean value of soluble CD 44 V6 in patient group was 269.2 ± 94.3 ng/ml and that of the control group was 179.5 ± 50.7 ng/ml; the difference was significant (p < 0.01). In multivariate analysis, distant metastasis (p < 0.05) and TNM staging (p < 0.01) appeared as independent factors regarding the significant higher serum levels of soluble CD 44 V6. Based on our preliminary results, preoperative serum soluble CD 44 V6 is closely related to distant metastases and TNM staging. The possible role of soluble CD 44 V6 in the prognostic value of breast carcinoma deserves further elucidation and evaluation with long-term patient follow-up.
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