Send to

Choose Destination
Ultrastruct Pathol. 1998 Sep-Oct;22(5):385-91.

Lung adenocarcinomas metastatic to the brain with and without ultrastructural evidence of rootlets: an electron microscopic and immunohistochemical study using cytokeratins 7 and 20 and villin.

Author information

Department of Pathology, New York Veteran Affairs Medical Center, NY 10010, USA.


Adenocarcinomas metastatic to brain from lung or colon may pose differentiation difficulties. Ultrastructurally, both may have brush borders with rootlets. This study examines the ultrastructural morphology and immunohistochemical expression of villin (associated with rootlets), cytokeratin 7 (present in lung adenocarcinomas), and cytokeratin 20 (present in colon adenocarcinomas) in 19 formalin-fixed sequential surgical biopsies of lung adenocarcinomas metastatic to brain as compared to 13 colonic adenocarcinoma metastases. Of lung tumor metastases, mucinous differentiation with rootlets was most common [6/19(32%)]. All colon tumor metastases were cytokeratin 7(-), 20(+), and profusely villin(+). Well-formed rootlets were seen. All lung metastases were cytokeratin 7(+) and 20(-). 5/6(83%) lung metastases with rootlets were focally villin(+). 12/13(95%) without rootlets were villin(-). Rootlets are extremely common in lung adenocarcinoma metastatic to brain. Villin immunoreactivity closely correlates with rootlets. Its distribution is a useful adjunct to cytokeratin 7 and 20 in differentiation of lung versus colon adenocarcinomas metastatic to the brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center