Author(s): Arber DA, Tamayo R, Weiss LM
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Abstract The c-kit gene product (CD117) is known to be expressed by a variety of normal human tissue cell types, including breast epithelium, germ cells, melanocytes, immature myeloid cells, and mast cells. To further characterize the expression of this antigen, 117 normal human tissues and 576 human tumors were studied by paraffin section immunohistochemistry. Varying degrees of CD117 expression were identified in various normal cells and in 53\% of all tumors studied. In most cases (42\% of total), CD117 expression was weak. Expression was most common in mast cell disease (100\%), testicular germ cell tumors (100\%), endometrial carcinomas (100\%), papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas (100\%), small cell carcinomas (91\%), malignant melanomas (90\%), and ovarian epithelial carcinomas (87\%). Strong immunoreactivity was only identified in cases of mast cell disease (11 of 11 cases), serous ovarian carcinoma (3 of 16), malignant melanoma (2 of 40), small cell lung carcinoma (one of seven), and adenoid cystic carcinoma (one of one). Although the pattern of reactivity was primarily cytoplasmic, a membrane staining pattern was seen in a subset of cases, and strong membrane staining was identified in normal mast cells and all cases of mast cell disease. The lack of tumor specificity of weak expression of this antigen limits its diagnostic utility in most cases. However, the strong membrane reactivity for CD117 identified in mast cells may be useful in the diagnosis of mast cell disorders.
This article was published in Hum Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis