c-kit (CD117) expression in human tumors and its prognostic value: an immunohistochemical analysis

Pathol Oncol Res. 2010 Sep;16(3):295-301. doi: 10.1007/s12253-010-9247-9. Epub 2010 Feb 23.


c-kit functions as a tyrosine kinase receptor and represents a target for small molecule kinase inhibitors. The expression pattern for c-kit was studied in different human tumor types to their correlation with prognosis. Paraffin-embedded tumor tissues from 282 patients were analyzed immunohistochemically for c-kit expression. Survival and follow-up data were available from 192/282 (68%) patients. c-kit immunopositivity was found in 62/282 (22%) cases. c-kit expression was found in 14/83 (17%) colorectal cancers, in 13/62 (21%) breast cancers, in 7/20 sarcomas (35%), in 5/14 (36%) renal cell carcinomas, in 2/12 ovarian cancers (17%) and in 2/12 (17%) hepatocellular carcinomas. We found no significant correlation between c-kit expression and prognosis although a trend to a worse prognosis in patients with c-kit positive tumors could be observed. Expression of c-kit was found in tumor samples with varying intensities and infrequently.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / biosynthesis*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit