CD57 (Leu-7) expression is helpful in diagnosis of the follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma

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Information Services, Academic Computing Services; Department of Cell Biology; Department of Pathology

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Adenoma; Antigens, CD57; Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular; Diagnosis, Differential; Graves Disease; Humans; Immunohistochemistry; Thyroid Gland; Thyroid Neoplasms; Thyroid Nodule; Thyroiditis, Autoimmune


Cancer Biology | Endocrine System Diseases


CD57 (HNK-1) is a oligosaccharide antigen that is expressed by cells of several lineages. It is present on multipotential neuroepithelial cells during embryogenesis, and tumours of epithelial, neuroectodermal and nerve sheath origin also express CD57. Its role in the diagnosis of thyroid tumours is controversial. We have studied CD57 expression by immunohistochemistry to determine its utility in the classification of thyroid follicular lesions. Study material included 114 normal thyroid sections, 77 benign thyroid lesions (29 colloid nodules, 22 follicular adenomas, 20 cases of Hashimoto's thyroiditis and 6 of Grave's disease) and 83 thyroid carcinomas, including 31 follicular variants of papillary carcinoma. We observed CD57 positivity in 95% of thyroid carcinomas, 27% of follicular adenomas and 10% of colloid nodules. It was not expressed in the normal thyroid. CD57 expression in thyroid carcinomas was significantly different from that in normal and benign thyroid lesions (P < 0.0001). The follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma also showed significantly higher CD57 expression than colloid nodules (P < 0.0009) or follicular adenomas (P < 0.0009). No significant difference was seen between colloid nodules and follicular adenomas. We conclude that CD57 immunohistochemistry is valuable in the classification of thyroid follicular lesions into benign and malignant groups and is also helpful in the diagnosis of the follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma.


Virchows Arch. 1998 May;432(5):427-32.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Virchows Archiv : an international journal of pathology

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