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Histopathology. 2006 Mar;48(4):438-44.

Comparative analysis of NeuN immunoreactivity in primary brain tumours: conclusions for rational use in diagnostic histopathology.

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  • 1Institute of Neurology, Core Unit for Medical Statistics and Informatics, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

AIMS:

NeuN is considered to be a marker of neuronal differentiation in brain tumours. Our aim was to perform, for the first time, a systematic and comparative analysis of NeuN expression in all major brain tumour subtypes to provide guidance for the rational use of NeuN immunohistochemistry in diagnostic histopathology.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Anti-NeuN immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens of 106 diffuse astrocytomas, 100 pilocytic astrocytomas, 107 ependymomas, 59 1p-aberrant oligodendroglial neoplasms, 115 glioblastomas, 115 medulloblastomas, 14 gangliogliomas/gangliocytomas and 10 central neurocytomas. We found no NeuN expression in pilocytic astrocytoma, whereas all other investigated tumour subtypes showed focal or widespread expression in varying proportions of cases. Comparing NeuN expression in clear cell tumours, widespread NeuN expression had a positive predictive value of 76.9% (95% confidence interval 46.2, 95.0) for central neurocytoma. Lack of NeuN expression had a positive predictive value of 87.3% (76.5, 94.4) for oligodendroglioma.

CONCLUSIONS:

Immunohistochemistry can detect NeuN expression in all major brain tumour subtypes except pilocytic astrocytoma. In the individual case, assessment of NeuN expression may be helpful in the differential diagnosis of clear cell primary brain tumours but does not seem to be useful for the differential diagnosis of other brain tumour subtypes.

PMID:
16487366
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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