Calretinin: A novel immunocytochemical marker for mesothelioma

Claudio Doglioni, Angelo P. Dei Tos, Licia Laurino, Paolo Luzzolino, Concetta Chiarelli, Marco R. Celio, Giuseppe Viale, M. RcPath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunohistochemistry is a powerful diagnostic adjunct in the differential diagnosis between malignant mesothelioma (especially of the epithelial type) and adenocarcinoma metastatic to the serous membranes. Most of the immunological probes commonly used, however, recognize antigens expressed by the epithelial malignancies and absent from mesothelial cells and mesotheliomas. Probes suitable for the positive identification of mesotheliomas are comparatively scarce and much less commonly used because of their reduced sensitivity and specificity, their unsuitability for staining routinely fixed and embedded tissues, or their lack of commercial availability. We now document that two different polyclonal antisera to calretinin consistently immunostain mesothelial cells and malignant mesotheliomas both in routinely fixed and embedded tissue sections and in cytological preparations of serous effusions. The diagnostic sensitivity of this novel immunocytochemical approach reached 100%, allowing immunostaining of all 44 mesotheliomas investigated, which included five biphasic and three sarcomatoid types. The specificity of calretinin immunoreactivity was checked against 294 adenocarcinomas of different origin (19 serosal metastases and 275 primary tumors potentially able to metastatize to serosal membranes) relevant for the discussion of the differential diagnosis with malignant mesothelioma: only 28 cases showed focal immunoreactivity for calretinin. We conclude that calretinin is a most useful marker for the positive identification of malignant mesotheliomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037-1046
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1996


  • Calretinin
  • Immunocytochemical markers for mesothelioma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Malignant mesothelioma
  • Metastatic adenocarcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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