Original Article

Virchows Archiv

, Volume 429, Issue 4, pp 213-219

First online:

Differential reactivity of HBME-1 and CD15 antibodies in benign and malignant thyroid tumours

Preferential reactivity with malignant tumours
  • M. MiettinenAffiliated withDepartment of Soft Tissue Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
  • , P. KärkkäinenAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, University of Helsinki

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Abstract

We studied a wide range thyroid tumours and non-neoplastic conditions (total 463 cases) immunohistochemically to evaluate the possible diagnostic potential of HBME-1 and CD15 antibodies. HBME-1 monoclonal antibody recognizes a biochemically unknown epitope present in mesothelioma and variably present in some adenocarcinomas. CD15 antibodies recognize a sugar epitope also included in Lewis X blood group antigen. All papillary (145/145) and follicular carcinomas (27/27) were HBME-1 positive, usually in the the majority of tumour cells. In contrast, cases of nodular goitre and papillary hyperplasia either showed no reactivity or were focally positive (in a third of cases). The patterns of CD15 reactivity were generally similar, although smaller numbers of tumour cells were positive in papillary carcinomas, and only 50% of follicular carcinomas were positive. Because fetal thyroid also showed CD15 reactivity, this antigen appears to behave as an oncofetal antigen in relation to thyroid tissue. Anaplastic carcinomas were negative with both antibodies, indicating the loss of these epitopes upon high grade malignant transformation. We conclude that HBME-1 and CD15 immunohistochemistry may be helpful in the histological differential diagnosis between benign lesions and differentiated thyroid carcinomas, especially papillary tumours. Although the biochemical basis of HBME-1 reactivity is unknown, increased CD15 reactivity in malignant thyroid tumours probably reflects changes in thyroid follicular epithelial glycoconjugates related to malignant transformation.

Key words

CD15 HBME-1 Thyroid Tumour Immunohistochemistry