Immunohistochemical characterization of human retinoblastomas in situ with multiple markers

Am J Ophthalmol. 1987 May 15;103(5):647-58. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)74324-7.


We studied paraffin-embedded specimens from 18 surgically enucleated eyes with retinoblastoma by peroxidase-antiperoxidase immunohistochemistry with antibodies against glial fibrillary acidic protein, S-100 protein, Leu 7 epitopes, neuron-specific enolase, the 200-kilodalton subunit of the neurofilament triplet polypeptide, and retinal S-antigen. We found that (1) glial fibrillary acidic protein, S-100 protein, and Leu 7 epitopes were detected only in well-differentiated glial cells that were interpreted as reactive and not neoplastic, (2) undifferentiated neoplastic cells expressed both neuron-specific enolase and retinal S-antigen immunoreactivity, and (3) differentiated cells forming Flexner-Wintersteiner rosettes were found to express neuron-specific enolase, retinal S-antigen, and, occasionally, neurofilament protein. These results support the view that retinoblastomas are composed of neuron-committed cells and favor the origin of these tumors from photoreceptor progenitor cells. We did not find any morphologic or immunohistochemical evidence of glial differentiation from tumor cells that would support the concept that retinoblastoma arises from a primitive neuroectodermal cell capable of divergent differentiation along neuronal and glial lines.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Eye Neoplasms / analysis
  • Eye Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / analysis
  • Retinoblastoma / analysis
  • Retinoblastoma / immunology*
  • S100 Proteins / analysis


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • S100 Proteins
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase