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Am J Surg Pathol. 2006 Dec;30(12):1613-8.

Comparative analysis of germ cell transcription factors in CNS germinoma reveals diagnostic utility of NANOG.

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Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The homeodomain transcription factor, NANOG, along with OCT3/4 (POU5F1) and SOX2, is part of the core set of transcription factors that maintain embryonic stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency. Expression of NANOG has been detected in fetal germ cells and in gonadal germ cell tumors. To assess the diagnostic utility of NANOG in central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors, we analyzed its expression by immunohistochemistry in a series of 12 CNS germinomas and compared its expression with other stem cell markers. Strong nuclear expression of NANOG was demonstrated in >90% of the tumor cells in all cases. In contrast, expression of OCT3/4 and placental alkaline phosphatase was inconsistent and SOX2 was expressed in only rare cells. NANOG was not detected in tumor types frequently considered in the differential diagnosis of CNS germinoma: pineoblastoma, primitive neuroectodermal tumors, medulloblastoma, lymphoma, pituitary adenoma, atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, and gliomas. These findings demonstrate that NANOG is a sensitive and specific marker of CNS germinoma. Compared with other currently used markers, NANOG may have superior diagnostic characteristics and can facilitate identification of germinomas in minute surgical biopsies commonly obtained from these tumors. These findings also suggest a potential biologic role for NANOG in maintenance of CNS germinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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