A panel of seven monoclonal antibodies has been used to characterise 164 cerebral and spinal tumours. These reagents have enabled rapid and accurate diagnosis of tumours to be made, particularly in cases where standard techniques have proved equivocal. On the basis of characteristic antigenic profiles of tumours, it has been possible to distinguish between gliomas, meningiomas, schwannomas, medulloblastomas, neuroblastomas, choroid plexus tumours, various metastatic deposits, and primary brain lymphomas. The reagents used in the study comprise antibodies binding to (a) most neuroectodermally derived tissues and tumours (UJ13A), (b) fetal brain and tumours of neuroblastic origin (UJ181.4), (c) schwannomas, normal and neoplastic neurones (UJ127.11), (d) glial cells (FD19), (e) epithelial cells (LE61), and (f) leucocytes (2D1). Some reagents, such as antibody A2B5, were less effective as diagnostic markers than originally suggested by previously described specificity. This monoclonal antibody reacted with both neuroectodermal and epithelial derived tumours. The panel of monoclonal antibodies was most useful in the diagnosis of tumours composed of small round cells, particularly lymphoma and neuroblastoma, but the pattern of reactivities allowed most of the central nervous system tumours to be accurately classified. This approach was a valuable adjunct to conventional histological techniques in about 20% of the cases examined.
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