GLUT1 Immunohistochemistry Is a Highly Sensitive and Relatively Specific Marker for Erythroid Lineage in Benign and Malignant Hematopoietic Tissues

Am J Clin Pathol. 2022 Aug 4;158(2):228-234. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/aqac034.


Objectives: Glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), a glucose transporter, is an abundant protein in erythrocytes with expression beginning early in erythropoiesis. We sought to evaluate the utility of GLUT1 immunohistochemistry (IHC) as a diagnostic marker for identifying erythroid differentiation in hematopoietic tissues, including neoplastic erythroid proliferations.

Methods: A variety of benign and neoplastic bone marrow biopsy specimens containing variable proportions of erythroid precursors were selected (n = 46, including 36 cases of leukemia). GLUT1 IHC was performed using a commercially available polyclonal antibody. Each case was evaluated for staining of erythroid precursors, nonerythroid hematopoietic cells, and blasts. A GATA1/GLUT1 double stain was performed on one case to confirm coexpression of GLUT1 on early erythroid precursors. Staining was compared with other erythroid markers, including glycophorin C.

Results: GLUT1 demonstrated strong membranous staining in erythroid precursors of all cases, which was restricted largely to the erythroid lineage. Of the 36 leukemia cases, all 6 cases of pure erythroid leukemia and both cases of therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia with erythroid differentiation showed positive GLUT1 staining in blasts. Otherwise, only lymphoblasts in B-lymphoblastic leukemia showed weak to moderate granular cytoplasmic staining (four of five cases).

Conclusions: GLUT1 IHC is a highly sensitive and relatively specific marker for erythroid lineage in benign and neoplastic bone marrow biopsy specimens.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Erythroid; GLUT1; Hematopoietic; Immunohistochemistry; Marrow.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow* / pathology
  • Cell Lineage
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute* / pathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • SLC2A1 protein, human