Reviewer: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 30 October 2015, last major update June 2005
Copyright: (c) 2003-2015,, Inc.
Definition / General
  • Actin binding protein present in cytoskeleton of intestinal microvilli; has critical role in maintaining brush border organization
  • Relatively specific for GI epithelium with brush border microvilli or adenocarcinomas derived from them
Uses by Pathologists
  • Primary bladder adenocarcinoma vs. colorectal carcinoma to bladder - negative CDX2 and negative villin suggests bladder primary (Mod Pathol 2005;18:1217)
  • Colorectal adenocarcinoma (villin+) vs. ovarian adenocarcinoma (villin-)
Positive Staining - Normal
  • Digestive tract epithelium, renal proximal tubules, hepatic bile ducts
Positive Staining - Disease
  • Pulmonary adenocarcinomas, renal cell carcinoma, colonic adenocarcinoma (98%)
Negative Staining
  • Bronchiolar epithelium, pulmonary alveolar cells, bronchial gland cells, renal distal tubules
Micro Images

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Bladder adenocarcinoma - (a) secondary colorectal is villin+ as is (b) primary bladder tumor