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Histopathology. 2001 Apr;38(4):312-7.

Use of calretinin in the differential diagnosis of unicystic ameloblastomas.

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  • 1Division of Oral Pathology, Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.



Calretinin, a 29-kDa calcium-binding protein is expressed widely in normal human tissues and tumours including both unicystic and solid and multicystic ameloblastomas. The histological distinction between unicystic ameloblastomas and certain non-neoplastic odontogenic cysts can be problematic. The objective of this study was to determine whether calretinin was expressed in the lining epithelium of odontogenic keratocysts, residual and dentigerous cysts and to determine whether this calcium-binding protein could be used to distinguish these cysts from the unicystic ameloblastoma.


The lining epithelium in 22 cases of odontogenic keratocyst, 26 cases of residual cyst and 20 cases of dentigerous cyst were examined for the expression of calretinin. No positive epithelial staining was observed in any of these cystic lesions. In comparison, however, 81.5% of cases of unicystic ameloblastoma showed a coarse dark brown staining of the more superficial epithelial cell layers. Scattered positive stromal and epithelial cells were present; these were interpreted as mast cells.


Calretinin appears to be a specific immunohistochemical marker for neoplastic ameloblastic epithelium and we suggest that it may be an important diagnostic aid in the differential diagnosis of cystic odontogenic lesions and ameloblastic tumours.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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