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Brain Pathol. 2004 Oct;14(4):399-405.

Galectin-3 as an immunohistochemical tool to distinguish pilocytic astrocytomas from diffuse astrocytomas, and glioblastomas from anaplastic oligodendrogliomas.

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Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil.


The distinction of astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas, mainly pilocytic astrocytomas (PILOs) from infiltrating astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas (ODs), and high-grade oligodendrogliomas from glioblastomas (GBMs), poses a serious clinical problem. There is no useful immunohistochemical (IHC) marker to differentiate these gliomas, and sometimes the differential diagnosis between them is arbitrary. We identified galectin-3 (Gal-3) as a possible tool to differentiate them based on gene expression profiles of GBMs. We confirmed the differential expression in 45 surgical samples (thirteen GBMs; seven PILOs; 5 grade II ODs; 5 anaplastic oligodendrogliomas [AODs], including 2 Oligo-astrocytomas; 8 diffuse astrocytomas [ASTs], and 7 non-neoplastic samples) by quantification of Gal-3 gene expression by real-time quantitative PCR (rt-PCR). Higher expression of Gal-3 was observed in GBMs and PILOs than in OD, AODs and ASTs. The IHC expression of Gal-3 was evaluated in 90 specimens (fifteen PlLOs, fourteen ASTs, 10 anaplastic astrocytomas, fifteen GBMs, eleven ODs, fifteen AODs, and 10 dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors). The mean labeling score for Gal-3 determined according to the percentage of labeled cells in the tumor bulk was significantly different in GBMs versus AODs and in PILOs versus ASTs. Hence, Gal-3 is differentially expressed in central nervous system tumors, making IHC detection of Gal-3 a useful tool in distinguishing between these gliomas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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