Distribution of Leu-7 antigen (HNK-1) in thyroid tumors: Its usefulness as a diagnostic marker for follicular and papillary carcinomas

Violette S. Ghali, Elpidio J.S. Jimenez, Roger L. Garcia

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37 Scopus citations


The reactivity of the anti-Leu-7 monoclonal antibody was tested in 39 neoplastic and nonneoplastic thyroid tissue specimens. These included eight colloid goiters, 14 follicular adenomas, nine papillary carcinomas, five follicular carcinomas, two medullary carcinomas, and one metastatic follicular carcinoma in bone. We observed strong cytoplasmic and/or cell membrane positivity in all follicular and papillary carcinomas, in both primary and metastatic tumors. However, the medullary thyroid carcinomas tested were negative. We also observed weak and only occasional staining with anti-Leu-7 antibody in colloid goiter and follicular adenomas. The staining in the benign thyroid lesions was usually focal, less than 10% of the cells; however, in cases of follicular and papillary carcinomas, both in primary and metastatic tumors, the staining was diffuse and strong. Some of the colloid material in colloid goiters and follicular adenomas showed faint homogenous staining with anti-Leu-7 antibody. Our findings suggest that anti-Leu-7 monoclonal antibody is a marker that may facilitate the differentiation between benign and malignant thyroid lesions, with the exception of medullary carcinoma. In addition, caution should be taken when using this antibody to diagnose metastatic lesions, as other metastatic carcinomas have also been reported to be positive. This antibody should be used in conjunction with a panel of antisera to complement a morphologic diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Leu-7 (HNK-1)
  • immunohistochemistry
  • thvroid


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