CD31 is a transmembrane glycoprotein, 130-140 kDa, also designated platelet-endothelium cell adhesion molecule = PECAM-1, belonging to the immunoglobulin super family. CD31 is ligand for CD38 and plays a role in thrombosis and angiogenesis. CD31 is strongly expressed in endothelial cells and weakly expressed in megakaryocytes, platelets, occasional plasma cells, lymphocytes (espc. marginal zone B-cells, peripheral T-cells) and neutrophils.
CD31 is expressed in the vast majority of all types of vascular neoplasms, such as hemangioendothelioma, angiofibroma, hemangioma, and angiosarcoma. CD 31 is also expressed in most cases of Kaposi sarcoma and epithelioid hemangioendothelioma. CD 31 may be expressed in a haematolymphoid neoplasms like chronic lymphatic leukaemia, plasmacytoma, histicytosis and juvenile xantogranuloma. When it comes to carcinomas, very few cases have been reported to express CD31. However, there are reports where singular cases of mucoepidermoid carcinoma, papillary thyroid carcinoma, sweat gland tumours, and metaplastic breast carcinoma with spindle cells have been reported to stain for CD31. There are also reports on CD 31-positivity in a minority of malignant fibrous histiocytoma of giant cell type and malignant mesothelioma. Finally CD31 has been detected in malignant gliomas, not only in the vesssels but also the neoplastic cells.
CD31 is most used in the panel for recognizing endothelial cell differentiation in tumours and should be considered a reliable marker for all types of vascular neoplasms.
Liver and tonsil are recommendable positive tissue controls for CD31. In liver an at least weak to moderate, distinct staining reaction in virtually all hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells must be seen. Endothelial cells of the portal tract vessels must show a moderate to strong staining reaction. In tonsil the majority of activated mantle zone B-cells must display an at least weak to moderate, distinct embranous staining reaction, whereas plasma cells and endothelial cells must show a strong staining reaction. Appendix can be used as negative tissue control, as no staining reaction of the epithelial cells should be seen (only intraepithelial lymphocytes should be demonstrated).
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