Ezrin immunoreactivity is associated with increasing malignancy of astrocytic tumors but is absent in oligodendrogliomas

Am J Pathol. 2000 Dec;157(6):1785-93. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)64816-X.


The actin-binding protein ezrin has been associated with motility and invasive behavior of malignant cells. To assess the presence of this protein in human glial cells of the brain and its potential role in benign and malignant glial tumors, we studied ezrin immunoreactivity (IR), proliferation (MIB-1-IR), and apoptosis (terminal dUTP nick-end labeling) in normal human brain tissues from 10 autopsies and tissues from 115 cases of human glial tumors including astro-cytomas, ependymomas, oligodendrogliomas, and glioblastomas. We found weak staining of peripheral processes in normal human brain astrocytes and in World Health Organization grade II benign astrocytomas. Staining was markedly increased in anaplastic astrocytomas (World Health Organization grade III) and clearly strongest in glioblastomas (World Health Organization grade IV). The increase of ezrin-IR correlated significantly with increasing malignancy of astrocytic tumors (P < 0.0001). Statistical analysis revealed a stronger association with increasing malignancy for ezrin-IR than for MIB-1-IR or terminal dUTP nick-end labeling staining. Ezrin-IR was absent in normal oligodendrocytes and in oligodendrogliomas, but pronounced in normal ependymal cells and ependymomas. Ezrin-IR seems to be specific for astrocytes and ependymal glia in the normal brain. Our results indicate that ezrin-IR may provide a useful tool for the distinction of oligodendrogliomas and astrocytomas and for the grading of astrocytic tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Apoptosis
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Astrocytoma / metabolism*
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Astrocytoma / physiopathology
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Cell Division
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Ependymoma / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioma / metabolism
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Glioma / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism
  • Oligodendroglioma / metabolism*
  • Oligodendroglioma / pathology
  • Oligodendroglioma / physiopathology
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Reference Values


  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • ezrin