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Diagn Cytopathol. 2010 Apr;38(4):264-9. doi: 10.1002/dc.21340.

Podoplanin is a useful marker for identifying mesothelioma in malignant effusions.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0054, USA.


The diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma in serosal effusions continues to be a major challenge because some of its cytomorphological features closely resemble adenocarcinomas. Immunohistochemistry is a valuable tool in the differentiation of epithelioid mesothelioma from metastatic adenocarcinomas. However, no single antibody has demonstrated absolute sensitivity or specificity. In this study, we evaluated the value of immunostaining pattern for podoplanin to differentiate mesothelioma from adenocarcinomas of various origins.Cell blocks from previously collected paraffin-embedded cell blocks of 86 effusions (18 mesothelioma, 35 reactive mesothelium, 9 breast adenocarcinoma, 14 ovarian adenocarcinoma, and 10 lung adenocarcinoma) were retrieved from the file of the Department of Pathology at University of Michigan and Lund University in Sweden and were used for the study. Slides prepared from the cell blocks were stained for podoplanin. The percentage of immunostained cells was recorded as follows: 1+ (5-25%), 2+ (26-50%), and 3+ (>50%). A stain result involving <5% of cells was considered negative. The intensity of positive results was evaluated as strong, moderate, or weak.Podoplanin is expressed in 94% of malignant mesothelioma cases (17/18), 97% (30/31) of cases of reactive mesothelial, 0% of lung adenocarcinoma cases (0/9), 0% of breast adenocarcinoma (0/9), and 7% of ovarian adenocarcinoma (1/14). All positive cases of malignant mesothelioma and reactive mesothelium showed strong membranous reactivity to podoplanin. The one positive case of ovarian adenocarcinoma showed a weak membranous podoplanin immunostaining.On the basis of our results and published data, we believe that membranous podoplanin immunoreactivity, in conjunction with calretinin, would be more specific than CK5/6 and WT-1 in differentiating epithelioid malignant mesothelioma from adenocarcinoma of the lung, breast, and ovary.

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