CD133 and CD44 as cancer stem cell markers in bladder carcinoma: an immunohistochemical study

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Despite important developments in cancer therapy, bladder carcinoma is still considered challenging to clinicians because of its aggressive behavior and high recurrence rates. Cancer stem cells have been implicated in tumor initiation, progression, metastatic potential, and resistance to therapy. This study aimed to assess CD44 and CD133 expression as cancer stem cell markers in bladder carcinoma and to evaluate their expression in relation to clinicopathologic parameters.

Materials and methods

CD44 and CD133 expression was investigated immunohistochemically on the paraffin blocks of 42 specimens of primary bladder carcinoma.


CD44 expression was detected in 57.14% of cases. CD44 expression was significantly associated with high-grade tumor (P=0.001) and muscle-invading tumors (P=0.011). CD133 was positive in 59.52% of cases. Significant associations were detected between CD133 expression and high-grade tumor (P=0.041) and with the presence of muscle invasion (P=0.029). CD44 and CD133 coexpression was detected in 42.86% of cases. CD44 positivity was significantly associated with CD133 expression.


CD44 and CD133 could be considered as markers predicting poor prognosis in bladder carcinoma. Both markers were significantly related to higher tumor grade and the presence of muscle invasion.

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