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Lineage-Specific Identification of Nonhematopoietic Neoplasms by Flow Cytometry

Anthony Chang MD, Peter M. Benda MD, Brent L. Wood MD, PhD, Steven J. Kussick MD, PhD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/FU3FDKYN8AU0891N 643-655 First published online: 1 May 2003


To extend flow cytometry (FC) to the diagnosis of nonhematopoietic neoplasms, we have developed new flow cytometric assays to identify expression of cytokeratin, epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)/epithelial glycoprotein-2, myogenin, and CD99. To validate these assays, we correlated the flow cytometric results with the histologic and immunohistochemical results on paraffin-embedded tissue in a series of 21 cases, including 17 carcinomas, 1 atypical carcinoid, 2 rhabdomyosarcomas, and 1 Ewing sarcoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor (ES/PNET). Six of 7 assayed carcinomas and the carcinoid were positive for cytoplasmic cytokeratin by the flow cytometric assay. EpCAM was expressed by 11 of 12 carcinomas that were assayed by FC. Both rhabdomyosarcomas expressed myogenin by FC, and the ES/PNET case expressed CD99. Interestingly, the blast-associated antigen CD90 was expressed uniformly on the ES/PNET case and on subsets of cells in the rhabdomyosarcoma and carcinoma cases. Potential applications of the flow cytometric assay to nonhematopoietic neoplasms will include evaluating samples with limited material, monitoring disease persistence and recurrence in patients with previous diagnoses, and making rapid diagnoses in urgent cases.

Key Words:
  • Flow cytometry
  • Nonhematopoietic neoplasm
  • Cytokeratin
  • EpCAM
  • Epithelial glycoprotein-2
  • Myogenin
  • CD56
  • CD90
  • CD99