Galectin-1 (GAL-1) expression is a useful tool to differentiate between small cell osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma

Isidro Machado, José Antonio López Guerrero, Samuel Navarro, Empar Mayordomo, Katia Scotlandi, Piero Picci, Antonio Llombart-Bosch

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Galectin-1 (GAL-1) is frequently expressed in osteosarcomas. Although a valuable diagnostic marker to differentiate between chondroblastic osteosarcomas and conventional chondrosarcomas, it has not been tested in the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFTs). We studied by immunohistochemistry GAL-1 expression in 43 osteosarcomas, 23 chondrosarcomas, and 217 genetically confirmed ESFTs using a tissue microarray. GAL-1 was expressed in 78 % of osteosarcomas, 33 % of chondrosarcomas, and 8 % of ESFTs. Osteoblastic and small cell osteosarcoma subtypes expressed GAL-1 in a high percentage of cells when compared with the other histological subtypes, whereas two chondroblastic osteosarcomas were negative. GAL-1 was mainly expressed in high-grade chondrosarcomas (grade III). ESFTs were rarely positive (8 %), and this was not related to the histological subtype nor to the clinical outcome. Although GAL-1 expression distinguishes chondroblastic osteosarcomas from conventional chondrosarcomas and is usually negative in conventional chondrosarcomas, the final diagnosis needs to incorporate histopathology since some chondroblastic osteosarcomas fail to express GAL-1, while high-grade chondrosarcomas are GAL-1 positive. Since GAL-1 is frequently expressed in osteogenic tumors, including small cell osteosarcoma, but rarely positive in ESFTs, its expression seems a valuable tool for distinguishing between these lesions. GAL-1 immunoexpression is not indicative of prognosis in ESFT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-671
Number of pages7
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Chondrosarcoma
  • ESFT
  • GAL-1
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Osteosarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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