Markedly increased overall levels of CD44 transcripts and proteins have been recognized in many tumors and the inappropriate expression and abnormal assembly of the CD44 variable exons has been linked to both tumor growth and metastatic potential. We have also previously observed the aberrant inclusion of intron 9 in CD44 mRNA transcripts in tumor tissues. In this study we assessed whether such retention is specific to certain introns or is a more general phenomenon affecting CD44 gene expression in tumor cells. Intron 18 was cloned and sequenced from genomic DNA and the novel sequences analyzed and used to create intron 18-specific probes. The newly characterized intron was found to have consensus 5′ splice site and branchpoint sequences but a suboptimal 3′ splice site. The status of CD44 intron 18 retention or excision was assessed in a colon tumor cell line (HT29) and in tissue from 20 colorectal tumors and matched normal mucosa. The intron was shown to be retained in transcripts from 15 of the 20 (75%) carcinomas but in only 3 of the 20 (15%) matched normal samples. These results compare with 80% retention of CD44 intron 9 in colonic carcinoma tissue mRNA and confirm that multiple abnormalities of CD44 mRNA processing occur in tumor cells.