Stains & CD markers

Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Wafaey Gomaa, M.D., Ph.D.

Last author update: 30 June 2020
Last staff update: 12 August 2021

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PubMed Search: Villin[TI] pathology

Wafaey Gomaa, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Gomaa W. Villin. website. Accessed May 19th, 2024.
Definition / general
  • One of the gelsolin family of calcium regulated actin binding proteins
  • First isolated and characterized in the microvilli of intestinal epithelium and later found in the brush of many absorptive epithelia
  • Intestinal microvilli in the apical membrane (brush border) are maintained by bundles of parallel actin filaments that are organized by multiple actin binding proteins including villin (Am J Pathol 2012;180:1509)
  • Expressed in tumors with enteric differentiation
Essential features
  • Normally expressed in the brush border of epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, hepatobiliary tract and renal proximal convoluted tubules
  • In colorectal carcinoma, villin is highly expressed
  • In practice, villin can be included in the panel used for metastatic carcinoma to detect colorectal origin
  • Apical membranous (brush border) immunostaining in normal epithelium and tumors
  • Cytoplasmic immunostaining in tumors
Uses by pathologists
Prognostic factors
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • In normal colonic crypts, shows a well organized brush border pattern together with small cytoplasmic dots in all crypts (ISRN Gastroenterol 2013;2013:679724)
  • Can highlight brush border or cytoplasm in positive tumors
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Wafaey Gomaa, M.D., Ph.D.

Moderately differentiated colorectal carcinoma

Colorectal carcinoma, villin

Normal colonic mucosa, villin

Endometrial carcinoma

Endometrial carcinoma, villin

Positive staining - normal
Positive staining - disease
Negative staining
Board review style question #1

    A 61 year old woman presented with an abdominal nodule. The patient had multiple liver nodules that were previously biopsied and tumor cells were positive for CDX2, CK20 and the stain depicted in the image. The depicted stain is most likely which of the following?

  1. CK5/6
  2. CK7
  3. DOG1
  4. MelanA
  5. Villin
Board review style answer #1
E. Villin. The patient has metastasis to the liver. Positivity to CDX2 and CK20 suggests colorectal origin. Villin is the most relevant of the provided markers to confirm colorectal origin.

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Reference: Villin
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