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Expression of CD163 (Hemoglobin Scavenger Receptor) in Normal Tissues, Lymphomas, Carcinomas, and Sarcomas Is Largely Restricted to the Monocyte/Macrophage Lineage

Nguyen, TuDung T MD, PhD; Schwartz, Erich J MD, PhD; West, Robert B MD, PhD; Warnke, Roger A MD; Arber, Daniel A MD; Natkunam, Yasodha MD, PhD

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: May 2005 - Volume 29 - Issue 5 - p 617-624
doi: 10.1097/
Original Article

CD163, a hemoglobin scavenger receptor, is expressed in monocytes and macrophages. We tested the expression of the CD163 protein in 1,105 human malignancies and normal tissues using tissue microarrays and conventional paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Besides staining nonneoplastic monocytes and histiocytes (tissue macrophages), membranous/cytoplasmic staining for CD163 was primarily limited to neoplasms with monocytic/histiocytic differentiation. CD163 reactivity was not observed in normal tissues, lymphomas, carcinomas, and in a majority of mesenchymal neoplasms, including follicular dendritic cell tumors (0 of 4), although it stained admixed histiocytes. Staining for CD163 was seen in Rosai-Dorfman disease (5 of 6), histiocytic sarcoma (3 of 4), littoral cell angioma (6 of 6), and Langerhans cell histiocytosis (3 of 5). A subset of atypical fibrous histiocytomas (9 of 16), benign fibrous histiocytomas (6 of 9), and atypical fibroxanthomas (1 of 3) also showed CD163 staining. Our studies also confirm earlier work showing that CD163 is expressed in acute myeloid leukemia with monocytic differentiation (AML, FAB subtype M5) (2 of 6), as well as a majority of giant cell tenosynovial tumors (7 of 8). Its limited range of expression and tissue specificity indicate that CD163 may have significant diagnostic utility in separating specific tumors with monocytic and histiocytic derivation from other entities in their differential diagnosis.

From the Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.

Supported in part by Grant No. NIH CA34233.

Correspondence: TuDung Nguyen, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, L235, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5243 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.