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Mod Pathol. 2007 Aug;20(8):871-7. Epub 2007 May 25.

The utility of PAX5 immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of undifferentiated malignant neoplasms.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. kjensen@stanford.edu

Abstract

PAX5 is a B-cell transcription factor whose expression at the protein level is reliably detected by immunohistochemistry in routine biopsies. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether PAX5 immunohistochemistry has diagnostic benefit as a B-cell marker in the work-up of undifferentiated malignant neoplasms. Twenty-five cases previously diagnosed as undifferentiated malignant neoplasms were selected. In addition, 59 hematolymphoid and 884 non-hematolymphoid malignancies were studied such that the specificity of PAX5 immunohistochemistry could be addressed. Two of the 25 (8%) undifferentiated neoplasms showed diffuse staining for PAX5, which indicated a B-cell derivation for these neoplasms that was not appreciated at the time of initial diagnosis. PAX5 staining was detected in the vast majority of hematolymphoid tumors of B-cell derivation but only in 5 of 884 (less than 1%) non-hematolymphoid tumors. Our results further show that PAX5 may be the only detectable marker of B lineage in lymphomas that lack or show equivocal CD45RB and CD20 expression. We conclude that the addition of PAX5 to a panel of immunohistologic markers used in the interrogation of undifferentiated neoplasms is of diagnostic benefit. Its expression can also facilitate the diagnosis of classical and nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma with atypical morphologic and immunohistologic features. Lastly, we have shown that the lack of its expression at the protein level in many epithelial and mesenchymal neoplasms renders PAX5 expression an extremely specific marker of the B lineage.

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