CD44H expression by human neuroblastoma cells: relation to MYCN amplification and lineage differentiation.
Gross N., Beretta C., Peruisseau G., Jackson D., Simmons D., Beck D.
The human CD44 cell surface glycoprotein has been involved in a variety of functions including lymphocyte homing, extracellular cell matrix attachment, and tumor metastasis. Due to the alternative splicing of the single gene, a large family of different variants or isoforms is generated. Several reports have indicated an up-regulation of CD44 variant (v) isoforms in malignant process, conferring metastatic potential to non-metastatic cells. Neuroblastoma is a tumor characterized by an aggressive and metastatic behavior in advanced stages with amplification of the MYCN protooncogene. In this report we show that the CD44 standard molecule is highly expressed in 100% of stage I-III, IVs neuroblastomas and ganglioneuromas but only in a subset of stage IV tumors. In contrast, no expression of CD44 was detected on MYCN amplified stage IV tumors, thus demonstrating a highly significant negative relationship between MYCN amplification and CD44 expression in neuroblastoma. The expression of CD44 on neuroblastoma cultured cell lines was not shown to be related to MYCN amplification but rather linked to the S-type, schwann/glial differentiation lineage. Immunochemical analysis of tumor samples with anti-CD44v3 and -v6 antibodies and Northern blot analysis of mRNA from cell lines with probes spanning exons 4-10 did not reveal any expression of splice variants on neuroblastomas of all stages and cell lines, thus ruling out a major role of these isoforms in neuroblastoma progression and metastasis.