Despite the immunologic functions of T-cell receptor signaling molecules being extensively investigated, their potential as immunohistochemical markers has been poorly explored. With this background, we evaluated the expression of 5 intracellular proteins-GADS, DOK2, SKAP55, ITK, and PKCα-involved in T-cell receptor signaling in normal and neoplastic hematologic tissue samples, using antibodies raised against fixation-resistant epitopes of the 5 molecules. All 5 antibodies were associated with normal T-cell differentiation. GADS, DOK2, SKAP55, and ITK turned out to be T-cell lineage-specific markers in the setting of lymphoid and myeloid precursor neoplasms but showed differential expression in peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) subtypes, being detected in PTCL/not otherwise specified (NOS) and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma but negative in anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Peripheral B-cell lymphomas were consistently negative for ITK, with occasional cases showing expression of DOK2 and SKAP55, and a proportion (47%) of hairy cell leukemias were GADS. Notably, PKCα highlighted a defective antigen in both PTCL/NOS (6%) and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (10%), mostly negative in ALCL, and was aberrantly expressed in classical Hodgkin lymphoma (65%), Burkitt lymphoma (48%), and plasma cell myeloma (48%). In conclusion, all five molecules evaluated play a role in T-cell differentiation in normal and neoplastic tissues. They can be applied confidently to routine sections contributing primarily to assignment of T-lineage differentiation in the setting of hematopoietic precursor neoplasms (GADS/DOK2/SKAP55/ITK) and for the differential diagnosis between ALCL and PTCL/NOS (GADS/DOK2/SKAP55/ITK) or classical Hodgkin lymphoma (PKCα). Finally, association with specific tumor subtypes may have therapeutic potential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine