Stains & CD markers

Topic Completed: 1 August 2013

Minor changes: 27 July 2021

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. CD5. website. Accessed October 21st, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Important in identification of T cells and most T cell lymphomas, some low grade B cell lymphomas, thymic carcinoma
  • Belongs to ancient scavenger receptor superfamily; at 11q13; binds to CD72
  • CD5+ B cells, which may arise from B-1 cells (subset of B cells) produce "generalist antibodies" using germline (nonmutation) configuration of gene segments - polyreactive low affinity "natural" antibodies (usually IgM) to exogenous antigens (tetanus toxoid, lipopolysaccharide) as well as autoreactive antibodies (Immunol Lett 1993;38:159)
  • First line of defense against antigens; have a low activation threshold; are the only line of defense for those who cannot produce specific antibody
  • May mediate hepatitis C infection of T cells (J Virol 2012;86:3723)
Clinical features
Uses by pathologists
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Julia Braza, M.D.

Breast CLL / SLL

Cases #281, #17 and #260

Eyelid: mantle cell lymphoma

Thymic carcinoma,
squamous cell

Liver: MALT lymphoma is CD5-

Images hosted on other servers:

Tumors / tissue typically CD5+:
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Lymph node: mantle cell lymphoma (fig B)

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Lymph node: SLL

Tumors / tissue occasionally / rarely CD5+:
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Lymph node: follicular lymphoma: typically CD5 stains only adjacent T cells (left); rarely tumor is CD5+ (right)

Positive staining - normal
  • Thymocytes, almost all T cells
  • B cells in fetal spleen and cord blood; B cells in bone marrow (particularly stage 3 hematogones and mature B cells, Am J Clin Pathol 2009;132:733), B cells in peritoneal and pleural cavities, some B cells in mantle zone of spleen and lymph nodes (12% of B cells in peripheral blood, Am J Clin Pathol 2004;121:368)
Positive staining - disease
Negative staining
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