Expression of HBME-1 and CD56 in follicular variant of papillary carcinoma in children: An immunohistochemical study and their diagnostic utility

Priya E. Skaria, Atif A. Ahmed, Hong Yin, Kathleen Nicol, Kimberly J. Reid, Vivekanand Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common differentiated thyroid cancer in children; and the follicular variant is the second most common variant after the classic subtype. The histological appearance of follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer (FVPTC), can be mimicked by benign follicular nodules. Pediatric pathologists encountering such lesions with FVPTC-like appearance may err on diagnosing the benign lesions as malignant. In adult patients, several immunohistochemical markers have emerged recently as a useful adjunct to distinguish differentiated thyroid carcinomas from benign follicular lesions. We undertook an inter-institutional retrospective study to establish the diagnostic utility of immunohistochemical staining for HBME-1, Galectin-3 and CD56 in differentiating FVPTC from its benign mimics, follicular adenoma and adenomatoid nodules, in children. Our specific aim of the project was to define the sensitivity and specificity of the three antibodies in FVPTC. Based on institutional diagnoses, a total of 66 cases were obtained: 32 FVPTC and 34 benign follicular nodules that comprised of 23 follicular adenoma and 11 adenomatoid nodules. Five investigators, who were blinded to the original diagnoses, independently reviewed the slides following pre-determined criteria and semi-quantitatively scoring the immunohistochemical staining. The immunohistochemical staining revealed that a combination of positive HBME-1 and negative CD56 result gave 100% specificity and positive predictive value in distinguishing FVPTC from benign follicular nodules. However, the antibody combination suffered from a lower sensitivity (50%). We used a cutoff of 25% positivity of tumor cells in determining positivity of tumor cells to an antibody. In conclusion, our study found a very high specificity and strong positive predictive value for the combination of HBME-1 and CD56 immunohistochemical stains in distinguishing FVPTC from benign follicular lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)880-884
Number of pages5
JournalPathology Research and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • CD56
  • Follicular-variant
  • Galectin-3
  • HBME-1
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Papillary carcinoma
  • Thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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