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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2002 Apr;126(4):425-31.

Epithelial-type and neural-type cadherin expression in malignant noncarcinomatous neoplasms with epithelioid features that involve the soft tissues.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611-3053, USA. wbl769@northwestern.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Transmembrane adhesion molecules, epithelial-type cadherin (ECAD) and neural-type cadherin (NCAD), help in regulating transformations between epithelial and mesenchymal cells in the developing embryo and in maintaining the epithelioid phenotype. Consequently, the presence of epithelioid cells in certain malignant noncarcinomatous neoplasms raises speculation that the expression of ECAD and NCAD in these neoplasms may have diagnostic significance.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the utility of ECAD and NCAD immunoexpression in distinguishing malignant (noncarcinomatous) neoplasms with epithelioid features that involve the soft tissues.

DESIGN:

Membranous immunoreactivity of anti-ECAD and anti-NCAD was evaluated on archived cases selected from the files of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

RESULTS:

Epithelial-type cadherin was found in biphasic synovial sarcoma (35 of 35 cases), malignant melanoma (13/21), monophasic fibrous synovial sarcoma (13/26), clear cell sarcoma (4/9), poorly differentiated synovial sarcoma (3/13), diffuse mesothelioma (4/20), malignant epithelioid peripheral nerve sheath tumor (1/6), and epithelioid sarcoma (5/62). Neural-type cadherin was observed in chordoma (11/11), biphasic synovial sarcoma (30/35), diffuse mesothelioma (14/20), malignant melanoma (14/25), epithelioid sarcoma (24/63), epithelioid angiosarcoma (1/4), poorly differentiated synovial sarcoma (2/13), clear cell sarcoma (1/10), and monophasic fibrous synovial sarcoma (1/26). Eighteen cases of primary cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas all tested positive for ECAD, whereas NCAD was focally observed in 5 cases. No expression of either molecule was observed in cases of epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (n = 9), alveolar soft part sarcoma (n = 8), and extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (n = 7).

CONCLUSIONS:

Epithelial-type and neural-type cadherins are found in a variety of noncarcinomatous neoplasms with epithelioid features that involve the soft tissues and can be utilized, in association with other immunomarkers, in distinguishing chordoma (100% NCAD) from extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma and conventional chondrosarcoma of bone (0% NCAD), squamous cell carcinoma (100% ECAD) from epithelioid sarcoma (8% ECAD), and biphasic synovial sarcoma (100% ECAD) from diffuse mesothelioma (20% ECAD).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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