Immunohistochemical Approach to the Differential Diagnosis of Meningiomas and Their Mimics

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2017 Apr 1;76(4):289-298. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nlx008.


The differential diagnosis between meningioma and others tumors can be challenging. This study aimed to evaluate different immunohistochemical markers for the differential diagnosis between meningioma and their morphological mimics. Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue microarray with antiepithelial membrane antigen (EMA), progesterone receptor, somatostatin receptor 2A (SSTR2A), CD34, STAT6, S100, SOX10, HMB45, MelanA, GFAP, inhibin, and BCL2 antibodies. One hundred and twenty-seven meningiomas, 26 solitary fibrous tumor/hemangiopericytomas (SFT/HPC), 39 schwannomas, 17 hemangioblastomas, 21 melanomas, 9 gliosarcomas, 5 neurofibromas, 9 peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumors, 7 synovial sarcomas, and 5 malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors were included in the microarray. SSTR2A was the most sensitive (95.2%) and specific (92%) marker of meningiomas. In combination, SSTR2A and/or EMA positivity reached maximal sensitivity (100%). Coexpression of SSTR2A and EMA was the most specific (94.8%) for the diagnosis of meningioma, regardless of the grade or subtype, with the exception of the differential diagnosis with synovial sarcoma. All synovial sarcomas were EMA-positive and 6/7 SSTR2A-positive. STAT6 showed optimum sensitivity and specificity (100%) for SFT/HPC. SOX10 was the most sensitive (94.3%) and specific (100%) marker to discriminate meningiomas from schwannomas. In conclusion, SSTR2A, STAT6, and SOX10 were the most sensitive and specific markers to distinguish meningiomas from their morphological mimics.

Keywords: Epithelial membrane antigen; Immunohistochemistry; Meningioma; SOX10; SSTR2A; STAT6; Schwannoma; Solitary fibrous tumor.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Hemangiopericytoma / genetics
  • Hemangiopericytoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods*
  • Meningioma / diagnosis*
  • Meningioma / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Sheath Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neurilemmoma / diagnosis
  • Neurilemmoma / pathology
  • Observer Variation
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / genetics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Solitary Fibrous Tumors / genetics
  • Solitary Fibrous Tumors / pathology


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • somatostatin receptor 2