Clinicopathologic study of retinoblastoma including MIB-1, p53, and CD99 immunohistochemistry

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2001 Jun;5(3):148-54. doi: 10.1053/adpa.2001.25406.


Retinoblastoma is the most common intraocular tumor of childhood and has served as a model for the understanding or tumorigenesis. This study retrospectively examines the clinicopathologic features of 19 retinoblastomas and defines the MIB-1 (cell proliferation marker), p53 (tumor suppression gene), and CD99 (HBA71 or MIC2 antibody) immunoreactivity in 10 selected cases. Nineteen patients (11 boys), ranging in age from 6 to 47 months (mean, 20 months), were included for study. Clinical presentations included: leukocoria (n = 12), strabismus (n = 6), apparent decreased visual acuity (n = 5), and proptosis (n = 1). Five patients had bilateral tumors and one neoplasm arose in a patient with a known family history of retinoblastoma. All tumors were histologically characterized by a proliferation of small cells with high nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratios. Commonly encountered histologic features included necrosis (n = 17, 89%), calcification (n = 16, 84%), fleurettes (n = 14, 74%), and Flexner-Wintersteiner rosettes (n = 11, 58%). Retinal involvement was noted in 18 tumors (95%) and optic nerve invasion in six cases (32%). The surgical optic nerve margin was positive in one case. Mitosis counts were evaluable in 18 cases and ranged from 1 to 42 mitotic figures/10 high power field (mean, 13 mitotic figures/10 high power field). Ten tumors were evaluated with MIB-1, p53, and CD99 antibodies by paraffin immunohistochemistry. MIB-1 labeling indices ranged from 31.4 to 77.1 (mean, 49.4). p53 immunostaining was observed in six tumors; less than 10% of tumor cells were noted to be p53 positive in each case. CD99 positivity was demonstrable focally in three tumors. Adjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy was administered in six patients. Tumor recurrence was not observed in any of the patients with a mean follow-up of 8.9 years. Only one patient died (20 years after enucleation) because of metastatic osteosarcoma.

In conclusion: (1) Fleurettes and Flexner-Wintersteiner rosettes are variable findings in retinoblastoma. (2) Retinoblastomas are characterized by marked cell proliferation as evidenced by generally high mitosis counts and extremely high MIB-1 labeling indices, but this does not appear to adversely impact on prognosis. (3) Unlike peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumors, most retinoblastomas do not stain positively with antibody to CD99. (4) Limited p53 immunostaining was present in 60% of tumors studied. (5) Enucleation with negative optic nerve margin is potentially curative in patients with retinoblastoma.

MeSH terms

  • 12E7 Antigen
  • Antigens, CD / analysis*
  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis*
  • Cell Division
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Retinal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Retinal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Retinoblastoma / chemistry
  • Retinoblastoma / pathology*
  • Retinoblastoma / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis*


  • 12E7 Antigen
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • CD99 protein, human
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53