Strong PDGFRA positivity is seen in GISTs but not in other intra-abdominal mesenchymal tumors: Immunohistochemical and mutational analyses

Michael R. Peterson, Zhe Piao, Noel Weidner, Eunhee S. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Mutation of the platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha (PDGFRA) gene has been well documented as an alternative oncogenic mechanism in a subset of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) lacking c-kit mutations. However, the role of PDGFRA immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of GISTs has not been well studied. We investigated PDGFRA immunoreactivity in GISTs and in other intra-abdominal mesenchymal tumors, and correlated PDGFRA expression with CD117 positivity and with the mutational status of PDGFRA and c-kit genes. In addition, expression of phosphorylated AKT, an activated downstream molecule in the PDGFRA and c-kit signaling pathways, was correlated with PDGFRA and CD117 status. A total of 39 GISTs and 20 other mesenchymal tumors in the abdomen were included in this study. Thirty-five of 39 GIST cases (89.7%) were positive for PDGFRA and 19 of these 35 positive cases were strongly positive. Five of 20 non-GIST lesions (25%) were positive for PDGFRA, but none of these cases were strongly positive. With one exception, PDGFRA-positive cases were also positive for CD117. Phosphorylated AKT positivity was not associated with the immunoreactivity or mutation of PDGFRA and c-kit, suggesting that the activation of AKT is probably independent of the activation of PDGFRA and c-kit in GISTs. Of 14 GISTs assayed, 4 had mutations in c-kit at exons 11 or 17, and 4 had mutations in PDGFRA at exons 12 or 18. Three of 4 GIST cases with PDGFRA mutations show epithelioid morphology and strong PDGFRA immunoreactivity with prominent perinuclear dotlike accentuation (so-called Golgi pattern). In conclusion, strong PDGFRA positivity with Golgi pattern is a useful adjunct in the diagnosis of GISTs with PDGFRA mutation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • CD117
  • Fibromatosis
  • GIST
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Leiomyoma
  • Mutation
  • PAKT
  • Sarcoma
  • Schwannoma
  • c-kit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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