Cytokeratin AE1 / AE3

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 17 November 2015, last major update July 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2015,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Cytokeratin AE1/AE3
  • Keratin cocktail that detects CK1-8, 10, 14-16 and 19
  • Does not detect CK17 or CK18; for this reason, some pan-keratin cocktails also contain CAM5.2 (detects CK18)
  • Often referred to in literature as "keratin" or "pankeratin", although this may also refer to Cytokeratin MNF116
  • May cross react with GFAP, leading to aberrant staining of glial tumors (ependymoma, glioblastoma, schwannoma, Mod Pathol 2006;19:115)
  • Note: staining pattern of cocktail may be different than staining pattern of AE1 and AE3 separately, due to different pre-treatment
Uses by Pathologists
Cytology Images

Images from Pathout server:

Kidney: atypical angiomyolipoma
(left) is negative, normal kidney
(right) is positive

Salivary gland: epithelial-
myoepithelial carcinoma

Thyroid anaplastic carcinoma

Images from other servers:

Breast ductal carcinoma: nodal metastases

Breast: angiomyoepithelioma-malignant,
epithelial component (fig C)

Breast lobular carcinoma: metastasis to lymph node - H&E and AE1/AE3

Duodenum: neuroendocrine carcinoma

Ascitis fluid: metastatic alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma
is negative, mesotheilal cell is internal positive control (fig C)

Liver: adenomatoid tumor (fig 3)

Lung cancer (non-small cell)
associated lymph node

Lung cancer (non-small cell) associated lymph node: frozen section

Nasal cavity: small cell
carcinoma (fig 1D)

Oral cavity: squamous cell
carcinoma-acantholytic type

Pleura: poorly differentiated carcinoma

Pleura: sarcomatoid mesothelioma (fig A)

Salivary gland: acinic cell carcinoma (left, fig 4); undifferentiated sarcoma-normal ducts (right, fig b)

Skin: normal epidermis

Skin: basal cell carcinoma
metastatic to bone (fig 4)

Small bowel: sarcomatoid
carcinoma (fig 3A)

Soft tissue: angiosarcoma - left, fig 2; right, fig 1C

Soft tissue: benign mixed tumor (fig B)

Soft tissue: myoepithelioma (fig C in both images)

Soft tissue: myxoid chondrosarcoma (fig B)

Thymus: thymoma

Unknown site: squamous cell carcinoma

Spinal cord: myxopapillary
ependymoma of filum terminale

Testis: yolk sac tumor

Missing Image

Testis: adenomatoid tumor

Images from

Adrenocortical carcinoma: oncocytic

Breast lobular carcinoma: metastasis to endometrial polyp

Retroperitoneum: schwannoma

Skull base chordoma

Vagina: mixed tumor (fig B)

Positive Staining - Normal
Positive Staining - Disease
Negative Stains