CD44 splice variant (CD44v3) promotes progression of urothelial carcinoma of bladder through Akt/ERK/STAT3 pathways: novel therapeutic approach

Vivek Anand, Madhuram Khandelwal, Sandeep Appunni, Nidhi Gupta, Amlesh Seth, Prabhjot Singh, Sandeep Mathur, Alpana Sharma

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28 Scopus citations


Purpose: The incidence of Urothelial carcinoma of bladder (UBC) is gradually increasing by changing lifestyle and environment. The development of a tumor has been noted to be accompanied by modifications in the extracellular matrix (ECM) consisting of CD44, hyaluronic acid (HA) and its family members. The importance of CD44 splice variants and HA family members has been studied in UBC. Methods: The cohort of study included 50 UBC patients undergoing radical cystectomy and 50 healthy subjects. The molecular expression of CD44 and HA family members was determined. Effect of CD44 variant-specific silencing on downstream signaling in HT1376 cells was investigated. Combinatorial treatment of 4-MU (4-methylumbelliferone) with cisplatin or doxorubicin on chemosensitivity was also explored. Results: Higher expression of HA, HAS2, and CD44 was observed in Indian UBC patients which also showed the trend with severity of disease. Splice variant assessment of CD44 demonstrated the distinct role of CD44v3 and CD44v6 in bladder cancer progression. shRNA-mediated downregulation of CD44v3 showed an increase effect on cell cycle, apoptosis and multiple downstream signaling cascade including pAkt, pERK and pSTAT3. Furthermore, 4-MU, an HA synthesis inhibitor, observed to complement the effect of Cisplatin or Doxorubicin by enhancing the chemosensitivity of bladder cancer cells. Conclusions: Our findings exhibit involvement of CD44 splice variants and HA family members in UBC and significance of 4-MU in enhancing chemosensitivity suggesting their novel therapeutic importance in disease therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2649-2661
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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