Reviewer: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 30 October 2015, last major update June 2005
Copyright: (c) 2003-2015,, Inc.
PubMed Search: Vimentin[title]
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 non-specific
  • 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)
Micro Images

Breast: pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia (PASH)

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

CNS: atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor

CNS: medulloepithelioma

CNS: meningioma, clear cell type

CNS: pituicytoma (figure F)

Kidney: oncocytoma

Kidney: renal cell carcinoma

Kidney: solitary fibrous tumor

Larynx: squamous cell carcinoma

Melanoma: left-desmoplastic; right-nasopharyngeal mass

Synovial sarcoma: left-mandible, right-mediastinum

Ovary: signet ring stromal tumor

Soft tissue: low grade fibromyxoid sarcoma

Soft tissue: parachordoma

Spermatic cord: aggressive angiomyxoma

Testis: Leydig cell tumor

Thyroid gland: angiosarcoma

Vulva: angiomyofibroblastoma

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