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Am J Pathol. 1983 Feb;110(2):193-208.

Proteins of intermediate filaments. An immunohistochemical and biochemical approach to the classification of soft tissue tumors.


The intermediate filament cytoskeleton of various types of human soft tissue tumors was analyzed by immunofluorescence microscopy with the use of specific antibodies against cytokeratins, vimentin, and desmin, as well as by one- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of high-salt buffer- and detergent-resistant cytoskeletal preparations. All leiomyomas as well as a leiomyosarcoma contained desmin. Leiomyomas of both gastrointestinal and uterine derivation and the retroperitoneal leiomyosarcoma showed strong reaction for desmin in the smooth muscle cells, but the latter two exhibited also vimentin staining. In embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas, desmin prevailed in the large, apparently well-differentiated rhabdomyoblasts; whereas the smaller, less differentiated tumor cells preferentially contained vimentin. Cells of malignant fibrous histiocytomas were characterized by their content of vimentin as the only intermediate filament protein present. In alveolar soft part sarcoma, a rare tumor of hitherto unknown histogenesis, vimentin and desmin co-existed within the same tumor cells, indicating, together with chemical determinations, the myogenic derivation of this neoplasm. The results show that immunologic and biochemical analysis of proteins associated with the intermediate filament cytoskeleton is a useful adjunct in the diagnosis of diverse neoplasms, particularly those with equivocal histologic features, and thus aids in the histogenetic classification of soft tissue tumors.

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