Aims : To evaluate the expression of D2-40 in normal lymphatic endothelium and vascular tumours or tumour-like lesions of the skin and soft tissue. D2-40 is a novel monoclonal antibody to a Mr 40 000 O-linked sialoglycoprotein that reacts with a fixation-resistant epitope in lymphatic endothelium.
Methods and results : Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections from 30 normal tissue samples, including skin, soft tissue, stomach, and colon, and 84 vascular tumours or vascular tumour-like lesions were immunostained with monoclonal antibodies to D2-40 and CD31. Normal lymphatic endothelial cells in all normal tissues expressed D2-40. Its positive staining delineated flattened channels or open spaces lined by a single layer of endothelial cells whose lumena were sometimes filled with lymphocytes. Ten of 10 cases of lymphangioma, nine of 10 Kaposi's sarcomas (KSs), one of five spindle cell haemangiomas, one of one reactive angioenodotheliomatosis, one of one vascular transformation of lymph node sinuses, three of three Dabska tumours, one of 10 epithelioid haemangioendotheliomas (HEs) and seven of 15 angiosarcomas were positive for D2-40. Positively staining angiosarcomas were characterized by epithelioid or papillary endothelial cells. Twenty-two non-spindle cell haemangiomas, one retiform HE and one Kaposiform HE, and five glomus tumours were negative for D2-40. In comparison, CD31 was expressed in five of 10 lymphangiomas, nine of 10 KSs, 27 of 27 haemangiomas, three of three Dabska tumours, 10 of 10 epithelioid HEs, 15 of 15 angiosarcomas and one of one each of retiform HE, Kaposiform HE, reactive angioendotheliomatosis, and vascular transformation of node sinuses. Five glomus tumours were negative for CD31.
Conclusions : The monoclonal antibody D2-40 is a highly sensitive and specific marker of lymphatic endothelium in normal tissue and a subset of vascular lesions, including KS, Dabska tumour, and lymphangioma. The findings support the concept that these tumours show at least partial lymphatic endothelial differentiation. Subsets of angiosarcomas and HEs show both vascular and lymphatic endothelial differentiation. D2-40 can be used in a panel of markers to classify vascular tumours. There is no requirement for epitope retrieval. This novel monoclonal antibody also has the potential for increasing the accuracy of detection of lymphatic invasion in primary tumours and could be widely applied for this purpose in surgical pathology.