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D2-40, a novel immunohistochemical marker in differentiating dermatofibroma from dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.

  • Bandarchi, Bizhan1
  • Ma, Linglei
  • Marginean, Celia
  • Hafezi, Sara
  • Zubovits, Judit
  • Rasty, Golnar
  • 1 Department of Anatomic Pathology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. [email protected] , (Canada)
Published Article
Modern Pathology
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2010
DOI: 10.1038/modpathol.2009.176
PMID: 20062007


The distinction between dermatofibroma, particularly cellular variant, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans in excisional biopsies is usually straightforward. However, a separation between the two may be sometimes challenging, especially in superficial biopsies. Although factor XIIIa and CD34 immunostains are useful in differentiating dermatofibroma and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans in most instances, focal CD34 positivity may be seen in cellular fibrous histiocytoma. Some cases reveal overlapping immunostain results. D2-40 identifies a 40-kDa O-linked sialoglycoprotein present on a variety of tissues including testicular germ cell tumors as well as lymphatic endothelium. In this study, we investigated the utility of D2-40 in separating dermatofibroma from dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and compared the results with other commonly used immunostains. Fifty-six cases of dermatofibroma (including six cellular variant) and 29 cases of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans were retrieved from the archives of Department of Anatomic Pathology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in University of Toronto. We applied factor XIIIa, CD34, and monoclonal mouse anti-D2-40 immunostains to formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections. All 56 (100%) cases of dermatofibroma demonstrated strong and diffuse immunoreactivity to D2-40 in the spindle cells and stroma. Similarly, factor XIIIa showed strong and diffuse positivity in the spindle cells. Nearly all dermatofibromas were negative for CD34 except one case revealing focal positivity. None of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans cases were labeled by D2-40, although four cases showed weak and patchy background staining in contrary to diffuse, strong, and crisp staining seen in dermatofibromas. Our results indicate that D2-40 seems to be a sensitive immunohistochemical marker for dermatofibromas, including cellular variant. Focal and faint D2-40 staining may be seen in the stroma of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. Our findings suggest that D2-40 can be used as a complementary immunostain to factor XIIIa and CD34 in problematic and challenging cases on superficial biopsies.

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