The calcium binding protein calretinin is a selective marker for malignant pleural mesotheliomas of the epithelial type

Pathol Res Pract. 1996 Feb;192(2):137-47. doi: 10.1016/S0344-0338(96)80208-1.


In a series of 23 cases of mesothelioma of either the epithelial, sarcomatoid or the mixed type, the expression of three calcium-binding proteins (calretinin, parvalbumin and calbindin-D28k) was studied using immunohistochemical techniques on paraffin sections. The results show that calretinin is expressed in mesotheliomas of the epithelial type (papillary, adenomatous or solid) and by the epithelial component of the mixed tumours. The immunohistochemical reaction is specific and reproducible. The tissues of the pulmonary parenchyma and of the pleura are negative for calretinin except for the rare fibroblasts and some skeletal muscle fibres situated in the interstices of, or near the epithelial tumour mass. The sarcomatoid mesotheliomas and the sarcomatoid component of the mixed tumours do not express calretinin. Parvalbumin and calbindin-D28k are expressed neither in mesotheliomas nor in normal lung tissue. Primary adenocarcinomas of the lung are negative for all three calcium binding proteins cited. Thus, calretinin seems to represent a selective marker for mesotheliomas of the epithelial type and allows their differentiation from metastases of lung adenocarcinomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Calbindin 1
  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / metabolism*
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Parvalbumins / analysis
  • Pleural Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / secondary
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / analysis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CALB1 protein, human
  • CALB2 protein, human
  • Calbindin 1
  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Parvalbumins
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G