Stains & molecular markers

Topic Completed: 1 June 2005

Minor changes: 20 October 2020

Copyright: 2003-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Vimentin[title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Vimentin. website. Accessed November 26th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Intermediate filament for mesenchymal tissue
Uses by pathologists
  • Vimentin staining confirms mesenchymal origin of some tumors; may be the only positive stain and thus confirms that the tissue is capable of staining (Am J Surg Pathol 2011;35:1722)
  • Staining may confirm mesenchymal origin, but numerous exceptions so relatively nonspecific
  • Help distinguish renal cell clear cell carcinoma from mimics as part of panel
  • Absence of vimentin staining may confirm that fat-like or other spaces actually lack a cellular lining (Am J Surg Pathol 2011;35:1823)
  • Distinguish endocervical and endometrial adenocarcinoma, as part of panel (Am J Surg Pathol 2010;34:915)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Cases #222, 216, 184, 149, 241, AFIP images, contributed by Dr. Steven Catinchi-Jaime, Mowafak Hamodat, M.B.Ch.B.

CNS: alveolar
soft parts sarcoma
(metastasis from
tongue tumor)

CNS: medulloepithelioma

Larynx: squamous cell carcinoma

Ovary: signet ring stromal tumor

Soft tissue: parachordoma

Testis: Leydig cell tumor

Thyroid gland: angiosarcoma

Vulva: angiomyo-fibroblastoma

Images hosted on other servers:

stromal hyperplasia

CNS: meningioma, clear cell type

CNS: pituicytoma (figure F)

Kidney: renal cell carcinoma

Kidney: solitary fibrous tumor

Mandible: synovial sarcoma

Mediastinum: synovial sarcoma

Soft tissue: low grade fibromyxoid sarcoma

Spermatic cord: aggressive angiomyxoma

Positive staining - normal
  • Mesenchymal cells including endothelial cells, fibroblastic reticulum cells, fibroblasts, interdigitating dendritic cells, Langerhans cells, vascular smooth muscle
Positive staining - disease
Negative staining
  • Carcinomas (usually, but there are many exceptions), Krukenberg tumor
  • Renal oncocytoma, although usually is focal staining with a pattern different from carcinomas (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2007;131:1782)
  • Renal chromophobe carcinoma
  • Thymic carcinoma, thymoma
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