Stains
SOX11

Author: Anna Dusenbery, M.D.
Editor: Mark R. Wick, M.D.

Revised: 11 January 2018, last major update January 2018

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: SOX11[title]

Cite this page: Dusenbery, A. SOX11. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/stainssox11.html. Accessed January 20th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Marker for mantle cell lymphoma (see below)
  • Neuronal transcription factor regulated in lymphoid cells by epigenetic changes but without a well understood function (J Clin Invest 2012;122:3416)
  • Mapped to chromosome 2p25.3 (Blood 2008;111:800)
  • Belongs to the SOX gene family (meaning it contains a DNA binding high mobility group (HMG) domain similar to that of SRY) and is in the subgroup C (Blood 2008;111:800)
  • May play a role in early neural development and in the maturation of neurons (DNA Res 1999;6:357)
  • Homologous to SOX4 which is a transcription factor in B and T lymphocytes; however, there is no known lymphopoietic function for SOX11 (Blood 2008;111:800)
  • One hypothesis is that SOX11 overexpression in mantle cell lymphoma leads to aberrant gene regulation that is related to cell survival vs cell death (Blood 2008;111:800)
Clinical features
Uses by pathologists
  • Nuclear expression can help distinguish mantle cell lymphoma from other B cell lymphomas (Blood 2008;111:800)
Microscopic (histologic) images

MCL of the tonsil:
H&E and SOX11 staining

Positive staining - normal
Positive staining - disease
  • SOX11 mRNA and nuclear protein expression is seen in nearly all mantle cell lymphomas (cyclin D1 positive and negative) but not in other mature lymphoid neoplasms or in normal lymphocytes (Haematologica 2009;94:1555, J Clin Invest 2012;122:3416)
  • Nuclear staining of SOX11 is a marker for mantle cell lymphoma, independently of cyclin D1 (Blood 2008;111:800)
  • Expression of SOX11 in in situ lesions is variable (J Clin Invest 2012;122:3416)
  • Sensitivity and specificity for combined SOX11 and cyclin D1 immunohistostaining in the diagnosis of cutaneous mantle cell lymphoma are both 100% (SOX11 by itself has 87.5% sensitivity and 100% specificity, J Cutan Pathol 2016;43:354)
  • Can also be evaluated on decalcified tissue (formalin negative or B5 negative fixed, Hum Pathol 2017;59:94)
  • Can also be detected in rare cases of Burkitt lymphoma, lymphoblastic lymphoma and T cell prolymphocytic leukemia (Haematologica 2009;94:1555)
  • Overexpression can be seen in malignant gliomas (Blood 2008;111:800)
Negative staining
  • Normal leukocytes, adult brain, normal tonsil, follicular lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and the majority of diffuse large B cell lymphomas (Blood 2008;111:800)
Board review question #1
Which of the following would not be expected to show positive staining for SOX11?

  1. CNS of a human embryo
  2. Cyclin D1 negative mantle cell lymphoma
  3. Cyclin D1 positive mantle cell lymphoma
  4. Follicular lymphoma
  5. Malignant glioma
Board review answer #1
D. Follicular lymphoma