A series of 14 new monoclonal antibodies to keratins: characterization and value in diagnostic histopathology

J Pathol. 1991 Jul;164(3):215-24. doi: 10.1002/path.1711640306.


A series of 14 new mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to keratins is described and the data suggesting their potential value in the differential diagnosis of human tumours are reported. The specificities of individual MAbs of the 'C-series' presented here range from monospecificity for keratin No. 7 (MAbs C-18, C-35, C-62, and C-68), keratin No. 8 (MAbs C-15, C-43, and C-15), and keratin No. 18 (MAbs C-04 and C-08) up to the broadly reacting 'pan-keratin' MAb C-11, with the target epitopes of the remaining four MAbs being shared by different pairs of keratin polypeptides. The results of the biochemical characterization of the MAbs, together with their immunohistochemical staining patterns on frozen as well as on paraffin sections of normal human tissues, suggest that they represent a significant contribution to the growing list of anti-keratin MAbs applicable in both research and routine diagnostic pathology. The immunohistochemical examination of a wide range of human neoplasms with the new MAbs not only confirmed their value in making distinctions between carcinomas, on the one hand, and lymphomas, and gliomas, on the other, but also verified the possibility of more subtle subdivisions within the group of adenocarcinomas and their metastases. Furthermore, the identification of small subsets of breast carcinomas with decreased levels or apparent loss of the keratin No. 7 polypeptide and some cases of stomach carcinoma with apparently induced expression of this keratin suggests that such 'exceptions' must be considered when using keratin spectra as one of the criteria in differential diagnosis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Cell Line
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Epithelium / immunology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Keratins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Keratins