Calponin and h-caldesmon in soft tissue tumors: Consistent h-caldesmon immunoreactivity in gastrointestinal stromal tumors indicates traits of smooth muscle differentiation

Markku M. Miettinen*, Maarit Sarlomo-Rikala, Albert J. Kovatich, Jerzy Lasota

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations

Abstract

Currently, the immunohistochemical evaluation of smooth muscle differentiation is usually based on desmin, which also reacts with skeletal muscle and is not present in all smooth muscle tumors, and α-smooth muscle actin, which reacts with myoepithelial cells. Neither marker typically reacts with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), previously classified as smooth muscle tumors or presently often classified as smooth muscle/stromal tumors. Two cytoskeleton-associated actin-binding proteins, calponin (CALP) and h- caldesmon (HCD), are putative smooth muscle markers that also react with myoepithelial. These markers are of particular interest in the immunohistochemical analysis of tumors; neither of them has been extensively documented in soft tissue tumors. In this study, we evaluated selected normal and reactive tissues and more than 250 mesenchymal tumors for CALP and HCD. Both markers were expressed in parenchymal and vascular smooth muscle cells in various organs and in myoepithelial cells. CALP also reacted with myofibroblasts of desmoplastic stroma. All of our 25 benign smooth muscle tumors from various locations were positive for CALP and HCD, as were most of the retroperitoneal and uterine leiomyosarcomas. HCD was more specific, because CALP also reacted with myofibroblastic lesions. The common reactivity of malignant fibrous histiocytomas with CALP and HCD suggests a combination of myofibroblastic and smooth muscle differentiation in these tumors. The GISTs (c-kit positive, usually actin negative) showed nearly consistent HCD reactivity, suggesting traits of smooth muscle differentiation. GISTs were usually CALP negative and showed a CALP expression pattern similar to that of α-smooth muscle actin. Although nonmuscle, nonmyofibroblastic tumors were negative for CALP and HCD, synovial sarcomas showed streaks of CALP-positive cells of unknown significance. CALP and HCD should be explored as markers to identify myofibroblastic and smooth muscle cell differentiation in mesenchymal tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-762
Number of pages7
JournalModern Pathology
Volume12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Muscle cell
  • Smooth muscle
  • Soft tissues

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