CD44, a cell surface glycoprotein, is involved in lymphocyte trafficking from the blood to lymphatic tissues, and is of importance in dissemination of lymphoma. A variant form of CD44 that has additional amino acids in the common protein backbone (CD44v6) also seems to play a role in the metastatic dissemination of malignancies. We measured serum CD44 and CD44v6 in 34 patients with lymphoma and in healthy controls by dot blot assay. Small amounts of both CD44 (range, 10 to 80 ng/mL) and CD44v6 could be detected in sera of all controls. Serum CD44 was elevated in all patients with lymphoma before treatment (range, 70 to > 2,000 ng/mL, P < .0001), and CD44v6 was also slightly elevated. Serum CD44 levels correlated with response to treatment. Patients with complete response achieved similar CD44 levels as the controls, whereas those with progressive disease had increased serum CD44 levels. We conclude that both the standard and the variant form of CD44 are detectable in sera of healthy individuals, and that serum CD44 may be useful in monitoring treatment response in patients with lymphoma.

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