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Histopathology. 2011 Jan;58(2):276-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.03747.x.

Sox10-positive sustentacular cells in neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Sustentacular cells are found in approximately half of pulmonary carcinoid tumours. However, most studies of sustentacular cells have used the less-specific antibody to the S100 protein, and any correlation between the presence of sustentacular cells and other clinicopathological factors is unclear. The aim of this study was to analyse the significance of sustentacular cells in pulmonary neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs).


A Sox10 antibody was used to investigate 113 pulmonary NECs. Sustentacular cells were observed in 66.7% of typical carcinoid (TC) and 58.3% of atypical carcinoid (AC) cases, but not in high-grade NECs. Sustentacular-rich tumours had a statistically significant correlation with peripheral locations. We found no statistical differences in age, gender, smoking history, overall survival, or the occurrence of lymph node metastasis. In all but one case, when sustentacular cells were present in the primary site, they were also present in the metastatic lymph nodes. The presence of sustentacular cells differed in morphological subtypes, with the spindle pattern being the most common subtype.


Sox10-positive sustentacular cells were observed in carcinoid tumours but not in high-grade NECs. Sustentacular-rich carcinoid tumours did not show a correlation with the occurrence of lymph node metastasis or survival. The sustentacular cells found differed in morphological subtypes.

© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Limited.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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