Heparanase expression: a potential ancillary diagnostic tool for distinguishing between malignant cells and reactive mesothelium in body cavity effusions

Cytopathology. 2007 Feb;18(1):13-9. [Link]

Doviner V, Maly B, Reinhartz T, Vlodavsky I, Sherman Y.

Department of Pathology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.


Objective: Heparanase, an endoglycosidase that cleaves heparan sulphate, is frequently expressed in carcinomas and was suggested to play a role in cell invasion and metastasis. We investigated whether heparanase expression may serve as a reliable marker to discriminate benign mesothelial cells from malignant cells shed into body cavities.

Methods and results: Cytological smears of effusions from 51 hospitalized patients were immunostained for heparanase. Strong immunoreactivity was noted in 35 of 40 (88%) carcinoma samples and in all three malignant mesothelioma cases. Only rare (<3%) reactive mesothelial cells were noted showing a faint negligible staining. Specificity was 100%, sensitivity 88%, and positive and negative predictive values were 100% and 89% respectively.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that heparanase may be of value as a complementary component in a diagnostic panel of markers, contributing to its reliability and accuracy.