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Heterogeneity of spindle cells in Kaposi's sarcoma: comparison of cells in lesions and in culture.

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Immunopathology Laboratory, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The immunophenotype of spindle cells in epidemic, endemic, and classic (sporadic) Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) lesions was defined by the demonstration of various cell markers and compared with that of KS-derived cell lines. No significant histological or immunophenotypic differences were observed between the three clinical types of KS at comparable stages. The spindle-cell compartment of the different KS types was composed predominantly of a mixture of proliferating CD45+/CD68+ bone-marrow-derived monocytes and TE7+/collagen+ fibroblastic cells with varying expression of EN4/PAL-E/CD31/CD34/CD36 endothelial-associated antigens and/or smooth-muscle-specific alpha-actin (alpha-actin). The latter cells appeared to represent transitional forms of fibroendothelial and fibromyocytic cells. The in vitro cultured KS-derived cell lines (KS-3, KS-6, and KS-8) expressed the fibroblastic antigen TE7 and smooth-muscle-specific alpha-actin but not leukocytic or endothelial-associated antigens consistent with the phenotype of fibromyoid spindle cells of primary lesions. Neither HIV antigen nor provirus DNA was demonstrable in the epidemic KS lesions. The observed heterogeneity of the spindle-cell compartment further substantiates the view that Kaposi's sarcoma, irrespective of clinical setting, expresses salient features more compatible with reactive, tumor-like lesion than clonal sarcoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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