Podoplanin and CD34 in peripheral nerve sheath tumours: focus on neurofibromatosis 1-associated atypical neurofibroma

J Neurooncol. 2011 Jun;103(2):239-45. doi: 10.1007/s11060-010-0385-4. Epub 2010 Sep 7.


Patients suffering from neurofibromatosis type 1 and 2 (NF1 and NF2) are the main risk groups to develop peripheral nerve sheath tumours (PNSTs). In the present study, adhesion molecules CD34 and podoplanin were assessed in regard to their value for tumour classification and as indicators for tumour progression. A total of 103 NF1-, NF2- and schwannomatosis-associated neurofibromas, schwannomas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNST), as well as 20 sporadic vestibular schwannomas and 9 control tissue samples, were labelled immunohistochemically for detection of podoplanin and CD34. CD34 was shown to be expressed in MPNST and all benign PNSTs except for the compact cellular parts of both, schwannomas and atypical neurofibromas. Podoplanin showed an inverse expression pattern to CD34 labelling mainly the compact parts of schwannoma and atypical neurofibroma. MPNSTs were characterized by strong podoplanin staining at the invasive front. NF1-patients who suffered from atypical neurofibromas did not develop MPNST at a higher frequency than other NF1-patients, although these tumours expressed podoplanin. Ki-67 proliferation indices did not differ significantly between neurofibromas, atypical neurofibromas and schwannomas. In accordance with other studies, CD34 was found to be of limited value for classification and grading of PNST due to its ubiquitous expression. Podoplanin expression in schwannoma and atypical neurofibroma adds to other phenotypic and genotypic similarities between these tumours, like nuclear atypia, regressive changes and euploid polyploidisation. Podoplanin expression in atypical neurofibroma was not associated with tumour progression towards MPNST.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD34 / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nerve Sheath Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Nerve Sheath Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neurilemmoma / metabolism
  • Neurilemmoma / pathology
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / metabolism*
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / pathology*


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • PDPN protein, human