Sperm protein 17 expression defines 2 subsets of primary esthesioneuroblastoma

Hum Pathol. 2005 Dec;36(12):1289-93. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2005.08.023.


Esthesioneuroblastomas (ENBs) are rare malignant tumors of the nasal vault, the origin, diagnosis, and management of which are still subjects of discussion. That there is no related prognostic factor or generally recognized therapeutic regimen highlights the need for further analyses of its underlying biologic features and investigations of new marker proteins that allow more reliable clinical testing. We here show that sperm protein 17 (Sp17) is expressed in the ciliated cells of the normal olfactory epithelium and in a proportion of primary ENB lesions. We found an association between Sp17 expression and metastases at relapse (P = .035), chromogranin expression (P = .014), and a female sex prevalence. A statistically nonsignificant relation was found between Sp17 and S-100, synaptophysin, and neurofilament expression. No correlation was also found between Sp17 expression and the proliferative capacity of the lesion that was evaluated by Ki-67 immunohistochemistry. The results of this study show the usefulness of Sp17 as a means of discriminating 2 subsets of primary ENB lesions and seem to suggest the existence of 2 distinct cell pathways in their origin and development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Calmodulin-Binding Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Chromogranins / metabolism
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma, Olfactory / classification
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma, Olfactory / metabolism
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma, Olfactory / secondary*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Cavity / pathology*
  • Nose Neoplasms / classification
  • Nose Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Nose Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / metabolism
  • Olfactory Mucosa / pathology


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Calmodulin-Binding Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Chromogranins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • SPA17 protein, human