International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Jun 2021)

CD74 and CD44 Expression on CTCs in Cancer Patients with Brain Metastasis

  • Desiree Loreth,
  • Moritz Schuette,
  • Jenny Zinke,
  • Malte Mohme,
  • Andras Piffko,
  • Svenja Schneegans,
  • Julia Stadler,
  • Melanie Janning,
  • Sonja Loges,
  • Simon A. Joosse,
  • Katrin Lamszus,
  • Manfred Westphal,
  • Volkmar Müller,
  • Markus Glatzel,
  • Jakob Matschke,
  • Christoffer Gebhardt,
  • Stefan W. Schneider,
  • Iwona Belczacka,
  • Beate Volkmer,
  • Rüdiger Greinert,
  • Marie-Laure Yaspo,
  • Patrick N. Harter,
  • Klaus Pantel,
  • Harriet Wikman

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 13
p. 6993


Read online

Up to 40% of advance lung, melanoma and breast cancer patients suffer from brain metastases (BM) with increasing incidence. Here, we assessed whether circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood can serve as a disease surrogate, focusing on CD44 and CD74 expression as prognostic markers for BM. We show that a size-based microfluidic approach in combination with a semi-automated cell recognition system are well suited for CTC detection in BM patients and allow further characterization of tumor cells potentially derived from BM. CTCs were found in 50% (7/14) of breast cancer, 50% (9/18) of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and 36% (4/11) of melanoma patients. The next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of nine single CTCs from one breast cancer patient revealed three different CNV profile groups as well as a resistance causing ERS1 mutation. CD44 and CD74 were expressed on most CTCs and their expression was strongly correlated, whereas matched breast cancer BM tissues were much less frequently expressing CD44 and CD74 (negative in 46% and 54%, respectively). Thus, plasticity of CD44 and CD74 expression during trafficking of CTCs in the circulation might be the result of adaptation strategies.