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Br J Plast Surg. 2005 Apr;58(3):348-52.

GLUT-1: an extra diagnostic tool to differentiate between haemangiomas and vascular malformations.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, St Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns, Court Road, Broomfield, Chelmsford CM1 7ET, UK.


The differential diagnosis between juvenile haemangiomas, vascular malformations, pyogenic granulomas and normally proliferative endothelium (granulation tissue) on the basis of histology alone is sometimes difficult. This is important because haemangiomas, are self-limiting and vascular malformations are not. We report our experience of using the immunohistochemical marker GLUT-1 to distinguish haemangiomas from vascular malformations following the initial report by North and Colleagues (1998). We studied a total of 50 specimens from patients with vascular anomalies, and found that GLUT-1 reactivity was positive in 18 out of 19 juvenile haemangiomas, negative in two out of two noninvoluting congenital haemangiomas (NICH) and negative in 29 out of 29 vascular malformations, that included capillary malformations, lymphatic malformations, venous malformations and arteriovenous malformations (95% sensitivity, 100% specificity). Pyogenic granulomas (n = 4) and granulation tissue samples (n = 4) were used as negative controls. Placenta tissue was used as positive control. GLUT-1 accurately distinguishes haemangiomas from vascular malformations, and as a result from this work, we use this technique in routine histopathological differentiation of vascular anomalies.

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