Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans: An Immunomarker Study of 57 Cases That Included Putative Mesenchymal Stem Cell Markers

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Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is a low-grade fibroblastic sarcoma with a superficial location that has been suggested to potentially be a type of mesenchymal stem cell tumor. We studied the expression of various immunomarkers, including putative stem cell markers, in a series of 57 DFSPs including variants, and 12 dermatofibromas (DFs). CD105, a mesenchymal stem cell marker, was weakly expressed in 24 DFSPs, whereas other stem cell markers, including CD133, ALK-1, and Oct3/4, were completely negative in all samples. The expression rates of CD105 and CD34 were significantly higher in DFSP (42% and 93%) than in DF (0% and 17%), and CD10 and D2-40 were significantly lower in DFSP (40% and 3.5%) than in DF (100% and 33%), respectively. CD99, CD117, PDGFB, and PDGFRβ expression was comparable between the groups. CD105+ mesenchymal cells were not observed in non-neoplastic dermis. In summary, we did not obtain sufficient immunohistochemical evidence to support the DFSP as a cutaneous mesenchymal stem cell tumor. CD34 alone was the most consistent marker of DFSP, irrespective of its variants. Because CD34+ non-neoplastic mesenchymal cells were distributed in a location similar to that of DFSP, we suggest that DFSP might have originated from CD34+ mesenchymal cells in the dermis.

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