Identification of CD56 and CD57 by flow cytometry in Ewing's sarcoma or primitive neuroectodermal tumor

Virchows Arch. 1998 Jul;433(1):35-40. doi: 10.1007/s004280050213.


CD56 and CD57 are commonly considered as natural killer and neuroectodermal markers, but their expression has been identified in a wide spectrum of neoplasms including some cases of Ewing's sarcoma (ES) and primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET). We report two cases of small, round blue cell tumor (SRBCT), in which flow cytometry immunophenotyping (FCI) detected strong expression of CD56 and CD57 (one case). Immunohistochemical staining with Leu-19 and Leu-7 confirmed the FI results. Although CD56 and CD57 expression is consistent with ES/PNET, it can be potentially misleading if results of FCI are interpreted in the absence of other findings. These cases suggest the utility of FCI in undifferentiated SRBCT. The literature on CD56 and CD57 expression in ES/PNET is reviewed and discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • CD56 Antigen / analysis*
  • CD57 Antigens / analysis*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / chemistry*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / chemistry*


  • CD56 Antigen
  • CD57 Antigens
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules