Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine CD44v6 expression in intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) and clarify the role of CD44v6 in progression, invasion, metastasis, and morphogenesis of IPMNs. Methods: One hundred fifty-one samples of IPMNs and 30 normal controls were subjected to immunohistochemical analysis for CD44v6. The IPMNs were divided into 4 groups according to the grade of atypia (adenoma, borderline IPMN, noninvasive carcinoma, and invasive carcinoma) and 5 subtypes according to histological phenotype (gastric, intestinal, pancreatobiliary, oncocytic, and unclassified). Correlations were investigated between CD44v6 expression and clinicopathological characteristics including grade of atypia, subtype, lymph node metastasis, and invasion pattern. Results: Whereas normal ductal epithelium did not express CD44v6, CD44v6 expression was observed from the early stage of IPMNs and up-regulated in the progression of IPMNs to invasive carcinoma. CD44v6 expression in intestinal-type IPMNs was significantly lower compared with that in other subtypes. Whereas no correlation was observed between lymph node metastasis and CD44v6 expression in invasive IPM carcinomas, the invasion pattern was significantly correlated to CD44v6 expression. Conclusions: The present data indicate that CD44v6 expression determines the morphology and aggressiveness of IPMNs and is involved in development and invasion of IPMNs.
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