Brachyury is recognized as a specific marker for notochord-derived tissues and neoplasms, and has become a defining immunohistochemical feature of chordoma. The main differential diagnostic consideration for chordoma is chondrosarcoma, which is known to lack brachyury expression. However, within the spectrum of genitourinary neoplasia, metastatic germ cell tumors and clear cell renal cell carcinoma may also be close morphological mimics of chordoma, particularly given the increasing prevalence of small tissue samples from image-guided biopsies. Although immunoreactivity for brachyury has been reported in a few germ cell tumors, a thorough characterization of staining by specific subtype has not been performed in a large series. Additionally, brachyury expression in clear cell renal cell carcinoma has not been well studied. In this study, immunohistochemical expression with the brachyury antibody was evaluated in 111 germ cell tumors, 30 non-neoplastic and neoplastic (non-germ cell) testicular tissues, and 184 metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinomas using tissue microarray technology. In addition, immunoreactivity for PAX-8 and SALL-4 was evaluated in 12 chordomas on whole section. No nuclear brachyury expression was identified in any of the 101 germ cell tumors within the tissue microarray (including choriocarcinoma (1), embryonal carcinoma (20), intratubular germ cell neoplasia unclassified (2), seminoma (64), spermatocytic seminoma (1), teratoma (5) and yolk sac tumor (8)), in any of the 30 non-neoplastic and neoplastic (non-germ cell) testicular tissues, or in any of the 10 whole-section seminomas. All 184 metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinomas were also non-reactive for brachyury. All 12 chordomas showed strong nuclear immunoreactivity for brachyury, but no expression of SALL-4. In all, 1 of 12 chordoma cases showed patchy, 1+ nuclear immunoreactivity for PAX-8. This study confirms the specificity of brachyury for chordoma in the differential diagnostic distinction from the potential genitourinary mimics, germ cell tumors and metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma.
View details for DOI 10.1038/modpathol.2010.196
View details for Web of Science ID 000287986600010
View details for PubMedID 21102418