CD31 has been shown to be a sensitive and specific marker for endothelial differentiation among epithelioid and spindled-pleomorphic human neoplasms. However, the role of this marker in the evaluation of small round cell tumors has not been evaluated. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections from 276 small round cell tumors, including 85 Ewing's sarcoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumors (ES/PNET), 52 rhabdomyosarcomas, 10 extraabdominal polyphenotypic small cell tumors, six desmoplastic small cell tumors, 11 neuroblastomas, 23 Wilms' tumors, 20 retinoblastomas, 13 esthesioneuroblastomas, and 56 small cell malignant lymphomas were stained with CD31 (JC/70A, 1:40), using a modified avidinbiotin-peroxidase complex technique, after citrate buffer microwave epitope retrieval. Among nonlymphoid small round cell tumors, four of 85 ES/PNET were at least focally reactive. No other lesion in this group was positive. In contrast, the majority of well-differentiated (11 of 17), intermediately differentiated (two of three), and lymphoblastic lymphomas (three of three) were positive. Small cleaved lymphomas (three of 13 follicular, one of 13 diffuse) were less often reactive, whereas small noncleaved lesions were negative. Although reactivity for CD31 in ES/PNET is uncommon, the presence of platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule in a small cell neoplasm should not in isolation be taken as evidence of hematopoietic origin. These results further define the utility of CD31 in the evaluation of human neoplasms.