IGFBP7, a novel immunohistochemical marker in differentiating dermatofibroma from dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans


  • Conflict of interest
    None declared.

  • Funding sources
    This work was partly supported by 2010 CMA – L’OREAL China Skin Grant (S2010-18) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30972654, 30700717).

  • Juan Li, Ying Yu and Yinsheng Yang contributed equally to this work.

H. Chen. E-mail:hongxiangchen@hotmail.com


Background  Loss of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7) has been found to be a critical step in the development of melanoma and colon cancer. To our knowledge, immunostaining of IGFBP7 in various dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) and dermatofibroma (DF) has not been studied before.

Objectives  To assess the immunostaining of IGFBP7 in DFSPs and DFs and to ascertain whether IGFBP7 is superior to antibodies traditionally used in differentiating DFs from DFSPs.

Methods  Immunohistochemical staining was performed on 28 cases of DFSP and 30 cases of DF, using antibodies to IGFBP7, CD34, factor XIIIa (FXIIIa), CD10 and stromelysin-3 (ST-3).

Results  Six of 28 (21.4%) DFSP samples were positive for IGFBP7, whereas 28 of 30 (93.3%) DF samples were positive. CD34 was positive in 26 of 28 (92.9%) cases of DFSP and 4 of 30 (13.3%) cases of DF. FXIIIa staining was positive in 4 of 28 (14.3%) cases of DFSP and 28 of 30 (93.3%) cases of DF. CD10 staining was positive in 12 of 28 (42.9%) cases of DFSP and ST-3 staining was positive in 7 of 28 (25.0%) cases of DFSP. The preferential IGFP7 staining of DFSPs in comparison with DFs was statistically significant (P < 0.01).

Conclusions  We confirmed that IGFBP7 is a negative immunohistochemical marker for DFSPs and the combination with CD34, FXIIIa and ST-3 immunostaining could make the distinction more reliable.