OLIG2 as a specific marker of oligodendroglial tumour cells

Lancet. 2001 Jul 28;358(9278):298-300. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)05499-X.


OLIG2 is a recently identified transcription factor involved in the specification of cells in the oligodendroglial lineage. We investigated the expression of OLIG2 by in-situ hybridisation in 21 brain tumours: nine grade II and III oligodendrogliomas, three grade II oligoastrocytomas, and nine non-oligodendroglial tumours (four grade IV astrocytomas, two meningiomas, a dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumour, and two metastases). OLIG2-positive cells corresponding to neoplastic oligodendrocytes were present in all oligodendrogliomas and oligoastrocytomas. By contrast, OLIG2 expression was not detected in the non-oligodendroglial tumours. Thus, oligodendroglioma probably arise from oligodendrocyte precursor cells. OLIG2 should prove a useful marker for the diagnosis of oligodendroglial tumours.

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytoma / classification
  • Astrocytoma / diagnosis*
  • Astrocytoma / genetics
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / isolation & purification*
  • Brain Neoplasms / classification
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2
  • Oligodendroglioma / classification
  • Oligodendroglioma / diagnosis*
  • Oligodendroglioma / genetics*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • OLIG2 protein, human
  • Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2