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Am J Clin Pathol. 2004 Oct;122(4):552-9.

Immunohistochemical staining for calretinin is useful for differentiating schwannomas from neurofibromas.

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Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.


We studied 25 cases of schwannoma and 42 cases of neurofibroma immunohistochemically with antibodies to calretinin and S-100 protein to explore the potential usefulness of calretinin in differentiating schwannomas from neurofibromas. Of 25 schwannomas, 24 (96%) showed moderate to strong staining for calretinin, with the extent of staining ranging from focal to diffuse. In contrast, only 3 (7%) of 42 neurofibromas displayed focal weak to moderate staining with calretinin. All 42 cases of neurofibromas and all 25 cases of schwannomas showed diffuse moderate to strong staining with S-100 protein. Calretinin also labeled mast cells, whose presence was confirmed further by staining for c-kit, which commonly was present in both tumor types in a scattered individual cell pattern easily differentiated from the clustered pattern of neoplastic spindle cells. Taken together, these results indicate that calretinin is detected in almost all schwannomas and in only a small percentage of neurofibromas, suggesting it is a useful marker for differentiating schwannomas from neurofibromas. Although mast cells present in these 2 neoplasms also react with calretinin, the pattern of staining can be distinguished easily from that of neoplastic cells.

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