Utility of CD138 (Syndecan-1) in distinguishing carcinomas from mesotheliomas

Anjali Saqi, Shine S. Yun, Gordon H. Yu, Diane Alexis, Robert N. Taub, Charles A. Powell, Alain C. Borczuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


CD138 (Syndecan-1) is a transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan present on the surface of plasma cells and epithelial cells. CD138 is also expressed in some hematopoietic neoplasms and has recently been observed in carcinomas. We characterized CD138 expression in cell-block preparations of fluids/effusions, focusing on the distinction between carcinoma and mesothelioma. One hundred formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded cell-block sections of fluids/effusions consisting of 58 metastatic carcinomas, 24 mesotheliomas, 11 reactive mesothelial cell proliferations, 3 lymphomas, 3 metastatic sarcomas, and 1 metastatic melanoma were stained with a monoclonal antibody against CD138. CD138 staining was observed in 32/58 (55%) metastatic carcinomas and 2/24 (8%) mesotheliomas; all reactive mesothelial cells, lymphomas, sarcomas, and melanoma were negative. CD138 is a highly specific marker in the differential diagnosis of carcinoma vs. mesothelioma. Distinct membranous staining without background staining of most inflammatory cells makes CD138 an ideal marker for cell-block preparations of fluids/effusions. It should be an integral component of the epithelial-mesothelial antibody panel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalDiagnostic Cytopathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • CD138
  • Carcinoma
  • Mesothelioma
  • Syndecan-1


Dive into the research topics of 'Utility of CD138 (Syndecan-1) in distinguishing carcinomas from mesotheliomas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this