Isoforms of the CD44 adhesion molecule have been assigned a pivotal role in tumor invasion and metastasis. CD44 splice variants may be selectively expressed in various normal and neoplastic tissues. We investigated immunohistochemically the presence of the standard (H) and two variant (v3, v6) isoforms of the CD44 molecule in a series comprising 13 choroid plexus papillomas (WHO grade I) and 8 carcinomas (WHO grade III). In the papilloma group, 5 tumors showed variable cellular pleomorphism and foci of infiltrative growth, and were tentatively classified as atypical papillomas. Autopsy specimens of normal pediatric and adult choroid plexus were used as control. Western-blot analysis of CD44H was carried out on 4 carcinomas, 1 papilloma and on normal choroid plexus. The proliferation rate was assessed by MIB-1 immunoreactivity. The normal choroid plexuses and 9 papillomas were negative for the standard as well as the variant CD44 molecules investigated. Four atypical papillomas and 5 carcinomas expressed CD44H. CD44v3 and CD44v6 were only detected in one of the atypical papillomas also positive for CD44H. These data indicate that CD44H is preferentially expressed on atypical papillomas and carcinomas and may correlate with the infiltrative growth of these tumors.