The utility of ERG, CD31 and CD34 in the cytological diagnosis of angiosarcoma: an analysis of 25 cases

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Erythroblast transformation specific related gene (ERG), a proto-oncogene member of the erythroblast transformation specific transcription factor family, is a sensitive marker of endothelial differentiation and is expressed in vascular tumours, including angiosarcomas (AS). Immunohistochemistry is necessary for the diagnosis of AS in fine needle aspirates where low cellularity and lack of preserved tissue architecture impedes diagnosis. The aim of this study was to assess the utility of an ERG-enriched immunohistochemistry panel in the cytological diagnosis of AS.


25 AS diagnosed on fine needle aspirates were stained for ERG, CD31, CD34, and AE1/AE3. Staining intensity and percentage tumour cell positivity were evaluated. Spearman's correlation was assessed for significant correlations between antibodies.


Sensitivities for ERG, CD31, CD34 and AE1/AE3 were 100%, 100%, 60% and 21%, respectively. Spearman's analysis revealed that ERG and CD31 staining correlated significantly; there was no significant correlation between CD31 and CD34 staining.


With equal sensitivity to, and strong correlation with CD31, ERG staining is highly suitable for the cytological diagnosis of AS. ERG and CD31 are more sensitive vascular markers than CD34. ERG, a nuclear stain, complements the cytoplasmic/membranous staining of CD31. Used in conjunction with CD31, ERG can corroborate the diagnosis of AS.

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