TECHNICALThe Problem With KIT: Clinical Implications and Practical Difficulties With CD117 ImmunostainingSabah, Muna M.R.C.Path; Leader, Mary F.R.C.Path; Kay, Elaine F.R.C.Path Author Information From the Department of Histopathology, Beaumont Hospital and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland. Manuscript received July 9, 2002; accepted September 17, 2002. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Muna Sabah, M.R.C.Path, Department of Histopathology, Education and Research Center, The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland. E-mail: [email protected] Applied Immunohistochemistry & Molecular Morphology: March 2003 - Volume 11 - Issue 1 - p 56-61 Buy Abstract Immunohistochemical staining for KIT (CD117) was performed on 144 cases of soft tissue sarcoma and 11 cases of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Diffuse global staining in almost all neoplastic cells was a consistent feature of GIST but was also seen in some types of soft tissue sarcoma that resemble GISTs morphologically, such as synovial sarcoma and leiomyosarcoma. This finding is of diagnostic importance because some of these sarcoma types may involve the intestinal wall and simulate primary GIST. Most other positive cases showed focal staining. Although focal positivity may not be a problem in resected specimens, it has the potential to be misleading in biopsy material. Our results are concordant with some reports of CD117 expression in soft tissue tumors, but they differ from those reported by other laboratories. This discrepancy in the literature may be the result of variation in antibodies used or variation in immunohistochemical staining protocol. Regardless of the technical or scientific explanation, an understanding of the difficulties with KIT immunostaining is critical. Not only is KIT positivity used as a prerequisite for the diagnosis of GISTs, but treatment eligibility for STI571 in patients with GIST, and increasingly with other tumors, relies on positive KIT immunostaining. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.