The interaction of osteopontin (OPN) with CD44 and alphavbeta3-integrin has been implicated in numerous signal transduction pathways that may promote cancer metastasis. CD44v6 is a splice variant of CD44 which has been identified as a marker of cancer progression. In this study, immortalized liver carcinoma cells (HepG2) were used to examine the effect of OPN on two isoforms of CD44: CD44 standard (CD44 s) and CD44v6. Western blots demonstrated that OPN up-regulated plasma membrane CD44v6 protein expression in a concentration- and time-dependent fashion. CD44v6 levels returned to control levels when OPN-alphavbeta3-integrin binding was blocked by an RGD peptide or tyrosine kinase activity was inhibited. OPN significantly increased CD44v6 protein synthesis, while simultaneously decreasing protein degradation. Steady-state mRNA levels of both CD44s and CD44v6 were unaltered in the presence of OPN stimulation. OPN increased HepG2 in vitro adhesion to hyaluronate (HA); excess soluble HA extinguished OPN-mediated HepG2 adhesion, indicating CD44 dependence. In conclusion, OPN binds to the alphavbeta3-integrin to increase plasma membrane CD44v6 expression and augment in vitro adhesion to HA. This may contribute to the mechanism by which OPN enhances metastatic behavior in hepatocellular cancer cells.