The aim was to evaluate Leu-M1 immunoreactivity as a prognostic factor in phaeochromocytoma. Anti-Leu-M1 monoclonal antibodies were used to determine the Leu-M1 immunoreactivity in 17 histologically confirmed phaeochromocytomas from 15 patients, using an avidin-biotin technique. Ten patients had a sporadic phaeochromocytoma, and five had multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A (MEN 2A). Malignancy was diagnosed in three patients by the presence of metastases. Leu-M1 immunoreactivity was shown in 12 (70.5%) phaeochromocytomas. Three patterns of arrangement were observed: isolated (scattered positive cells) (n = 3); focal (aggregates of positive cells) (n = 5), and diffuse patterns (dispersed positive cells) (n = 4). Two cases of malignant phaeochromocytoma were positive (one focal and one isolated pattern). All cases of MEN 2A showed immunoreactivity, although no characteristic pattern was prevalent. A diffuse pattern was observed in all phaeochromocytomas longer than 7 cm. In conclusion, Leu-M1 expression is frequent in phaeochromocytoma. However, Leu-M1 immunoreactivity seems to be useless in predicting malignant behaviour and to be influenced mainly by tumour size.
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