Evaluation of the Expression of C-kit (CD117) in Ependymomas and Oligodendrogliomas
C-kit is a proto-oncogene located on the long arm of chromosome 4. Its product, CD117, is a specific immunohistochemical (IHQ) marker that is associated with response to a potent tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy with STI-571 (Gleevec®) in chronic myelogenous leukemia and GISTs. In our study, we aimed to evaluate the expression of CD117 in glial tumors as this finding may guide therapeutic approaches for these brain tumors. Ependymomas and oligodendrogliomas, in formalin fixed and paraffin embedded blocks were assayed for CD117 immunoreactivity using anti-c-kit (CD117, DAKO). GISTs were used as positive control. We observed immunoreactivity of CD117 protein in 25.5% of tumors in both histological types. In oligodendrogliomas, there was an association between older age at diagnosis and positivity for CD117 (P = 0.039). In addition, we observed an association between higher tumor grade (grade III) and positivity for CD117 (P = 0.007). No clinical association was observed in ependymomas (P > 0.05). This study encourages further investigations, considering that CD117 may be a possible oncogenic factor in some glial tumors. In this case, tumors that express this marker may eventually benefit from a therapy with selective inhibitors of receptor kinases.