Expression of CD163 in dermatofibroma, cellular fibrous histiocytoma, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: comparison with CD68, CD34, and Factor XIIIa

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Distinction between cellular fibrous histiocytomas (FHs) with a deep component and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSPs) can pose diagnostic problems. While CD68, CD34, and Factor XIIIa are helpful in distinguishing between these entities, none are diagnostically absolute. Recent work with CD163, a hemoglobin scavenger receptor, has demonstrated that this marker has high specificity for monocytes, macrophages, and histiocytes. Our goal is to evaluate the utility of CD163 in the diagnosis of dermatofibromas (DFs), cellular FHs, and DFSPs.


Sixty cases including 19 DFs, 23 cellular FHs with a deep component, and 18 DFSPs were tested with antibodies against CD163, CD68, CD34, and Factor XIIIa.


CD163 was expressed in 17/19 (89%) DFs, 23/23 (100%) cellular FHs, and 3/18 (17%) DFSPs. CD68 was positive in 8/19 (42%) DFs, 19/23 (83%) cellular FHs, and 1/16 (6%) DFSPs. CD34 was expressed in 1/19 (5%) DFs, 5/23 (22%) cellular FHs, and 100% of DFSPs. Factor XIIIa labeled 4/19 (21%) DFs, 11/23 (48%) cellular FHs, and 0/17 cases of DFSPs.


CD163 expression is helpful in distinguishing between cellular FHs and DFSPs and will be useful in a panel of antibodies when these entities are in the differential diagnosis.

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