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Hum Pathol. 1998 Feb;29(2):119-26.

Keratin subsets and monoclonal antibody HBME-1 in chordoma: immunohistochemical differential diagnosis between tumors simulating chordoma.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Pathology and Cell Biology, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Thirty-five chordomas and more than 100 other tumors that have to be considered in the differential diagnosis, were immunohistochemically analyzed using a panel of antibodies including those to subsets of keratins (K), HBME-1, a monoclonal antibody recognizing an unknown antigen on mesothelial cells, and neuroendocrine markers. The patterns of immunoreactivities in chordoma were compared with those in renal cell carcinoma, colorectal mucinous adenocarcinoma, pituitary adenoma, skeletal chondrosarcoma, and extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (ESMC). Chordomas were consistently positive for keratin cocktail AE1/AE3, and for the individual keratins K8 and K19, and nearly always positive for K5, but they showed negative or only sporadic reactivity for K7 and K20. The keratin K8 and K19 reactivity was retained in those chordomas showing solid sheets of epithelioid, spindle cells, or cartilaginous metaplasia, and in one of two cases showing overtly sarcomatous transformation. In comparison, keratins were never present in skeletal chondrosarcoma, although K8 and to a lesser extent K19 were seen in occasional cases of ESMC with chordoid features. HBME-1 reacted strongly with chordoma and skeletal chondrosarcoma but was almost never positive in renal or colorectal carcinoma. These carcinomas lacked K5-reactivity, in contrast to chordoma. Chordomas were also consistently positive for neuron-specific enolase and occasionally focally for synaptophysin, but never for chromogranin. In contrast, pituitary adenomas regularly expressed the full spectrum of neuroendocrine markers and differed from chordoma by having a narrower repertoire of keratins, often showing negative or focal keratin 8- or AE1/AE3 reactivity and being almost always K19-negative. These findings indicate that chordoma can be immunohistochemically separated from tumors that can resemble it. Immunohistochemistry is especially useful in the diagnosis of small biopsy specimens that offer limited material for morphological observation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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