Research Papers:

Expression of neural cell adhesion molecule L1 (CD171) in neuroectodermal and other tumors: An immunohistochemical study of 5155 tumors and critical evaluation of CD171 prognostic value in gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Shingo Inaguma _, Zengfeng Wang, Jerzy P. Lasota and Markku M. Miettinen

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:55276-55289. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10527

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Shingo Inaguma1,2, Zengfeng Wang1, Jerzy P. Lasota1, Markku M. Miettinen1

1Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA

2Department of Pathology, Aichi Medical University School of Medicine, Nagakute, Japan

Correspondence to:

Shingo Inaguma, email: [email protected]

Keywords: CD171 (NCAM-L1, L1CAM), immunohistochemistry, neuroectodermal tumor, gastrointestinal stromal tumor, mismatch repair deficiency

Received: February 10, 2016     Accepted: May 26, 2016     Published: July 11, 2016


The neural cell adhesion molecule L1 (CD171) is a multidomain type 1 membrane glycoprotein of the immunoglobulin superfamily important in the nervous system development, kidney morphogenesis, and maintenance of the immune system. Recent studies reported CD171 expression being associated with adverse clinical outcome in different types of cancer and there has been a growing interest in targeting this cell membrane molecule on neoplastic cells by chimeric antigen receptor redirected T lymphocytes or specific antibodies. Nevertheless, conflicting results regarding the prognostic value of CD171 expression in renal cell carcinomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumors were published. In this study, CD171 expression was immunohistochemically analyzed in 5155 epithelial, mesenchymal, melanocytic, and lymphohematopoietic tumors to assess its utility in diagnostic pathology and to pinpoint potential targets for CD171-targeting therapy. A newly developed anti-CD171 rabbit monoclonal antibody, clone 014, was selected from the panel of commercially available CD171 antibodies. Immunohistochemistry was performed using Leica Bond Max automation and multitumor blocks containing up to 60 tumor samples. CD171 was constitutively and strongly expressed in neuroectodermal tumors such as schwannoma, neuroblastoma, and paraganglioma, whereas other mesenchymal tumors including schwannoma mimics showed only rarely CD171 positivity. Frequent CD171-expression was also detected in ovarian serous carcinoma, malignant mesothelioma, and testicular embryonal carcinoma. CD171 immunohistochemistry may have some role in immunophenotypic differential diagnosis of neurogenic tumors and pinpointing potential candidates for anti-CD171 therapy. Though, because of its rare expression and lack of predictive value, CD171 is neither a diagnostic nor prognostic marker for gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

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