Podoplanin, a mucin-like transmembrane sialoglycoprotein, promotes platelet aggregation and may be involved in cancer cell migration, invasion, metastasis, and malignant progression. Podoplanin/aggrus is highly expressed in testicular seminoma, suggesting that it may be a sensitive marker for testicular seminomas. Here we investigated the expression of podoplanin in central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors (GCTs) by immunohistochemical staining of tumor samples from 62 patients. In 40 of 41 (98%) germinomas (including germinomatous components in mixed GCTs), podoplanin was diffusely expressed on the surface of germinoma cells; lymphocytes, interstitial cells, and syncytiotrophoblastic giant cells were negative for podoplanin. Except for immature teratomas (12/17; 71%), podoplanin expression was absent in non-germinomatous GCTs, including seven teratomas, seven embryonal carcinomas, seven yolk sac tumors, and seven choriocarcinomas. In immature teratomas, focal podoplanin staining was observed in fewer than 10% of immature squamous and columnar epithelial cells. Thus, podoplanin expression may be a sensitive immunohistochemical marker for germinoma in CNS GCTs. As such, it may be useful for diagnosis, for monitoring the efficacy of treatment, and as a potential target for antibody-based therapy.
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