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Am J Clin Pathol. 2001 Aug;116(2):253-62.

Immunohistochemical analysis still has a limited role in the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. A study of thirteen antibodies.

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Department of Pathology, University of Glasgow and Western Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland.


To identify the most accurate and useful panel to diagnose mesothelioma, we immunostained sections from 112 mesotheliomas, 18 adenocarcinomas, and 11 reactive pleural specimens with 13 antibodies. Positive results for mesotheliomas, adenocarcinomas, and reactive pleura, respectively, were CAM5.2, 111, 18, and 11; vimentin, 30, 3, and 3; HBME-1, 75, 10, and 8; thrombomodulin, 31, 2, and 2; calretinin, 43, 6, and 11; and CD44H, 68, 10, and 4. Positive results for adenocarcinoma markers in mesotheliomas and adenocarcinomas, respectively, were carcinoembryonic antigen, 1 and 15; LeuM1, 7 and 9; and Ber-EP4, 5 and 12. All reactive pleura were negative. Positive results for markers to help distinguish mesothelioma from reactive pleura in mesotheliomas, adenocarcinomas, and reactive pleura, respectively, were epithelial membrane antigen, 76, 17, and 6; p53, 78, 16, and 9; P-170 glycoprotein, 37, 4, and 2; and platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta, 31, 1, and 2. The differential diagnosis of mesothelioma from adenocarcinoma is based on negative markers. Individual mesothelial markers are of low sensitivity and specificity for mesothelioma. However, diagnostic accuracy is improved by the use of antibody panels. To date there are no antibodies that help distinguish mesothelioma from reactive pleura.

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