While several studies link the cell-surface marker CD44 to cancer progression, conflicting results show both positive and negative correlations with increased CD44 levels. Here, we demonstrate that the survival outcomes of genetically induced glioma-bearing mice and of high-grade human glioma patients are biphasically correlated with CD44 level, with the poorest outcomes occurring at intermediate levels. Furthermore, the high-CD44-expressing mesenchymal subtype exhibited a positive trend of survival with increased CD44 level. Mouse cell migration rates in ex vivo brain slice cultures were also biphasically associated with CD44 level, with maximal migration corresponding to minimal survival. Cell simulations suggest that cell-substrate adhesiveness is sufficient to explain this biphasic migration. More generally, these results highlight the potential importance of non-monotonic relationships between survival and biomarkers associated with cancer progression.
- biphasic migration
- biphasic survival