Evaluation of CD43 expression in non-hematopoietic malignancies

Bjorn H. Batdorf, Steven H. Kroft, Paul R. Hosking, Alexandra M. Harrington, Alexander C. Mackinnon, Horatiu Olteanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives CD43 is normally expressed only on the surface of leukocytes, and is considered a sensitive and specific marker for hematologic malignancies. As such, it may have diagnostic utility in confirming hematolymphoid lineage in cases that are negative for CD45. Aberrant CD43 expression has been described in non-hematopoietic tumors, although literature data on this topic is variable and sometimes contradictory. To clarify and expand on existing literature findings, we evaluated CD43 expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in a large cohort (307) of non-hematopoietic neoplasms, including poorly differentiated malignancies. Methods 17 tissue microarrays and sections from 19 individual cases were stained with CD43 (clone DF-T1) monoclonal antibody. The proportion of positive cells, stain localization (nuclear, cytoplasmic or membranous), and intensity (compared to internal leukocyte controls) were recorded in all cases. Results There were 98/307 (32%) positive cases, that showed focal weak nuclear staining in 1–25% of cells, including 23/25 (92%) pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas; 31/34 (91%) breast invasive ductal carcinomas; 13/15 (87%) papillary thyroid carcinomas; 3/4 (75%) follicular thyroid carcinomas; 6/15 (40%) renal cell carcinomas; 9/28 (32%) lung adenocarcinomas; 1/13 (8%) lung squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs); 2/8 (25%) prostate adenocarcinomas; 8/62 (13%) colon adenocarcinomas; and 2/21 (10%) neuroendocrine neoplasms. None of the positive cases demonstrated strong, membranous CD43 expression comparable to that seen in background mature lymphocytes or segmented neutrophils. Negative cases included 11 cervical SCCs, 12 cervical adenocarcinomas, 19 urothelial carcinomas, 10 lung small cell carcinomas, 11 sarcomas, and 19 poorly differentiated carcinomas from various tissue sites. Conclusions In our cohort, most non-hematopoietic neoplasms are negative for CD43 expression, with a subset showing focal, weak nuclear positivity. This data indicates that uniform and strong membranous staining appears to be specific to hematopoietic neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Diagnostic Pathology
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Antibody clones
  • CD43
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Non-hematologic malignancies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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