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Hum Pathol. 2002 Jun;33(6):590-8.

Mapping of the keratin polypeptides in meningiomas of different types: an immunohistochemical analysis of 463 cases.

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  • 1Department of Soft Tissue Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC 20306-6000, USA.


Keratins are known to be expressed in some meningiomas, and they have been consistently reported in secretory meningiomas. However, the expression of individual keratin polypeptides has not yet been systematically explored, and such a study could provide important information for the differential diagnosis of meningioma and other tumors, particularly metastatic carcinomas. In this study we analyzed the keratin polypeptide patterns of 463 meningiomas of different types using well-characterized monoclonal antibodies specific to 11 individual keratins and 3 additional antibodies that recognize more than 1 keratin. Archnoid tissues from autopsies were examined for comparison. Secretory meningiomas showed consistent positivity for all simple epithelial keratins K7, K8, K18, and K19, usually limited to the slender spindle cells lining the gland-like lumina. Other keratins variably detected in a minority of gland-like structures were K5/6, K14, K16, and K17. Among other meningiomas, keratin 18 was commonly present in a significant number of tumor cells in different subtypes (30% to 80% of cases), often extensively. The K18 positivity of meningiomas paralleled that observed in normal arachnoids, which were negative for K7, K8, K19, and AE1. Only rare meningiomas, other than the secretory ones, had significant positivity for K7, K8, K19, and other keratins than K18. The concentric spindle cells around psammoma bodies and few other spindle cell foci were often focally positive for K7 and to lesser degree for K8, K14, and K19. The complex pattern of keratins in meningiomas has to be considered in the differential diagnosis of meningioma and metastatic carcinoma. In this context, antibodies to K7, K8, and K19 and the antibodies AE1 and AE3 are useful, because they only rarely label significant numbers of meningioma cells but are positive in a great majority of carcinomas. Careful histologic analysis is necessary to differentiate anaplastic meningiomas and metastatic carcinomas, which have overlapping patterns of several keratins except K20, which was never present in any type of meningioma.

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