OBJECTIVES: To evaluate CD24/CD44/CD47 cancer stem cell marker expressions in bladder cancer (BCa) and provide data on their prognostic significance for clinical outcome in patients undergoing radical cystectomy (RC). MATERIAL AND METHODS: Primary BCa tissue was used for xenograft studies. A tissue microarray was prepared using specimens from a cohort of 132 patients. All patients underwent RC for urothelial BCa between 2001 and 2010. Expression of CD24, CD44, and CD47 was examined in primary samples and xenografts by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Populations of CD24(low)- and CD24(high)- expressing cells were sorted and evaluated for tumorigenicity in vivo. Tissue microarray was analyzed for CD24/CD44 staining intensity and tumor-specific vs. stromal cell staining. Associations with BCa survival, BCa stage, and lymph node status were evaluated by univariate and multivariate analyses. RESULTS: CD24 and CD44/CD47 expressions mark distinct cell populations within the normal urothelium as well as in BCa. CD24(high/low) expression was not sufficient to characterize CD24 as a BCa-initiating marker in in vivo primary xenotransplants. CD24 and CD44 expressions correlated with lower cancer-specific survival in patients. However, multivariate analyses of CD24 or CD44 did not demonstrate significantly increased hazards for cancer-specific death if analyzed together with stage, grade, and nodal status of patients. CONCLUSIONS: Cancer stem cell markers CD24/CD44/CD47 are differentially expressed in cells of urothelial BCa in patients undergoing RC and influence cancer-specific survival of patients. Further evaluation of CD24/CD44/CD47 protein expression could be of high therapeutic value in BCa. However, both CD24 and CD44 expressions cannot be regarded as independent prognostic parameters for patients undergoing RC.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published