Immunohistochemical Expression of Glypican-3 in Pediatric Tumors: An Analysis of 414 Cases

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Abstract

Glypican-3 (GPC3) is a proteoglycan thought to play an important role during development. Germline GPC3 mutations are seen in the rare Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (SGBS), which predisposes patients to Wilms tumor, hepatoblastoma, and neuroblastoma. While numerous adult tumors have been evaluated by immunohistochemistry for GPC3, no comprehensive assessment has been done in pediatric tumors. We therefore investigated GPC3 expression in 143 pediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumors and 271 non-CNS tumors. Among non-CNS tumors, GPC3 expression was seen in 9/9 (100%) hepatoblastomas, 4/6 (67%) malignant rhabdoid tumors, 5/13 (38%) Wilms tumors, 11/37 (30%) alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas, and 8/45 (18%) embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas. All 136 neuroblastomas, 14 Ewing sarcoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumors, and 11 synovial sarcomas were immunonegative for GPC3. Among CNS tumors, GPC3 had restricted expression, with positivity in 6/6 (100%) atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors and 1/4 (25%) craniopharyngiomas. The remaining 136 CNS tumors—23 medulloblastomas, 21 pilocytic astrocytomas, 13 gangliogliomas, 12 ependymomas, 12 glioblastomas, 11 choroid plexus neoplasms, 10 diffuse astrocytomas (grade II/III), 10 meningiomas, 8 dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors, 8 oligodendrogliomas, 3 craniopharyngiomas, 3 germinomas, and 2 neurocytomas—were entirely negative for GPC3. These results showed GPC3 positivity in a number of non-CNS tumors, with no consistent discrimination between tumors that were or were not associated with SGBS. Within the CNS, GPC3 positivity was limited to a small subset of CNS neoplasms and may thus serve as a useful positive diagnostic biomarker (P < 0.0001) in addition to negative INI1/BAF47/SMARCB1 staining to differentiate atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors from other high-grade pediatric brain tumors.

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