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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2007 Feb;131(2):234-41.

New immunohistochemical markers in the evaluation of central nervous system tumors: a review of 7 selected adult and pediatric brain tumors.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Suite 286A, Houston, TX 77030-3498, USA.



Immunohistochemistry (IHC) has become an important tool in the diagnosis of brain tumors.


To review the latest advances in IHC in the diagnostic neuro-oncologic pathology.


Original research and review articles and the authors' personal experiences.


We review the features of new, useful or potentially applicable marker antibodies as well as the new uses of already established antibodies in the area of diagnostic neuro-oncologic pathology, focusing on the use of IHC for differential diagnosis and prognosis. We discuss (1) placental alkaline phosphatase, c-Kit, and OCT4 for germinoma, (2) alpha-inhibin and D2-40 for capillary hemangioblastoma, (3) phosphohistone-H3 (PHH3), MIB-1/Ki-67, and claudin-1 for meningioma, (4) PHH3, MIB-1/Ki-67, and p53 for astrocytoma, (5) synaptophysin, microtubule-associated protein 2, neurofilament protein, and neuronal nuclei for medulloblastoma, (6) INI1 for atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor, and (7) epithelial membrane antigen for ependymoma. All the markers presented here are used mainly for supporting or confirming the diagnosis, with the exception of the proliferation markers (MIB-1/Ki-67 and PHH3), which are primarily used to support grading and are reportedly associated with prognosis in certain categories of brain tumors.


Although conventional hematoxylin-eosin staining is the mainstay for pathologic diagnosis, IHC has played a major role in differential diagnosis and in improving diagnostic accuracy not only in general surgical pathology but also in neuro-oncologic pathology. The judicious use of a panel of selected immunostains is unquestionably helpful in diagnostically challenging cases. In addition, IHC is also of great help in predicting the prognosis for certain brain tumors.

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