CD109, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored glycoprotein, is expressed at high levels in some human tumors including squamous cell carcinomas. As CD109 is reportedly cleaved by furin and its soluble form is secreted into culture medium in vitro, we hypothesized that CD109 could serve as a tumor marker in vivo. In this study, we investigated CD109 as a novel serum tumor marker using transgenic mice that overexpress mouse CD109 (mCD109-TG mice) and tumor xenografted mice inoculated with human CD109 (hCD109)-overexpressing HEK293 cells. In sera and urine of mCD109-TG mice, mCD109 was detected using western blotting. In xenografted mice, hCD109 secreted from inoculated tumors was detected in sera, using western blotting and CD109 ELISA. Concentrations of tumor-secreted CD109 increased proportionally as tumors enlarged. Concentrations of secreted CD109 decreased notably by 17 h after tumor resection, and became undetectable 48 h after resection. The half-life of tumor-secreted CD109 was about 5.86±0.17 h. These results indicate that CD109 is present in serum as a soluble form, and suggest its potential as a novel tumor marker in patients with cancers that express CD109.
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