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Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis
Immunohistochemical Expression of Fascin, a Dendritic Cell Marker

Geraldine S. Pinkus MD, Mark A. Lones MD, Fumio Matsumura PhD, Shigeko Yamashiro PhD, Jonathan W. Said MD, Jack L. Pinkus PhD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/N2TW-ENRB-1N1C-DWL0 335-343 First published online: 1 September 2002


Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a clonal disorder believed to be derived from cells of the dendritic system. Fascin, a 55-kd actin-bundling protein, represents a highly selective marker for dendritic cells of lymphoid tissues and peripheral blood and is involved in the formation of dendritic processes in maturing epidermal Langerhans cells. Since lesional cells of LCH may represent Langerhans cells arrested at an early stage of activation, immunohistochemical expression of fascin in epidermal Langerhans cells and in the lesional cells of 34 cases of LCH was evaluated in paraffin sections using an immunoalkaline phosphatase technique. Though epidermal Langerhans cells were nonreactive for fascin, lesional cells in all LCH cases exhibited immunoreactivity for fascin, CD1a, and S-100 protein. Variation in staining intensity was observed in some cases, possibly reflecting differences in cell maturation or activation. Involved tissues included bone, soft tissue, lymph node, thyroid, orbit, and extradural cranial tissue. Immunoreactivity of lesional cells of LCH for fascin supports their derivation from cells of the dendritic system and represents another alteration in the phenotype of Langerhans cells that is associated with maturation, migration, culture, or clonal expansion.

Key Words:
  • Fascin
  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis
  • Langerhans cells
  • Dendritic cells