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p75NGFR Immunostaining for the Detection of Perineural Invasion by Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma


  • The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. Rebecca Lewis Kelso, 301 University Ave., Department of Dermatology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston TX 77555-0783, or e-mail:


BACKGROUND Perineural invasion (PNI) in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) may portend a poor prognosis for patients. p75NGFR (nerve growth factor receptor) is part of a membrane receptor complex that binds nerve growth factor. Its use for detecting PNI in CSCC in comparison to S-100 immunohistochemical staining has not been explored.

OBJECTIVE To determine whether detection of PNI may be improved by staining with p75NGFR as compared with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and S-100.

METHODS Thirty-four cases of CSCC were retrospectively evaluated for the presence of PNI using standard H&E as well as S-100 and p75NGFR immunohistochemical stains. Staining intensity was correlated to the presence or absence of PNI and tumor differentiation.

RESULTS Results showed a positive correlation between staining intensity and the presence of PNI detected by p75NGFR (p=.04). Using p75NGFR allowed for the detection of seven cases of PNI not detected by H&E alone. Five of these cases were detected by S-100, with two cases seen by p75NGFR only. Six cases of PNI were detected using S-100 not seen on H&E, with one case also not seen using p75NGFR.

CONCLUSION p75NGFR immunostaining increased detection of PNI compared with H&E. p75NGFR could serve as an alternative to S-100 in the detection of PNI, or as part of an immunostaining panel for PNI detection.