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Disease Markers
Volume 2014, Article ID 514753, 7 pages
Review Article

Brachyury: A Diagnostic Marker for the Differential Diagnosis of Chordoma and Hemangioblastoma versus Neoplastic Histological Mimickers

1Department of Human Pathology “G. Barresi”, University of Messina, Italy
2Dipartimento di Patologia Umana, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria “Policlinico G. Martino”, Pad. D, Via Consolare Valeria 1, 98125 Messina, Italy

Received 17 June 2013; Accepted 6 November 2013; Published 21 January 2014

Academic Editor: Upender Manne

Copyright © 2014 Valeria Barresi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Brachyury is a transcription factor which is required for posterior mesoderm formation and differentiation as well as for notochord development during embryogenesis. Due to its expression in the neoplastic cells of chordoma, a malignant tumour deriving from notochordal remnants, but not in tumors showing a similar histology, brachyury has been proposed as a diagnostic marker of this neoplasia. Though commonly considered a hallmark of chordoma, the expression of brachyury has been also documented in the stromal cells of hemangioblastoma (HBL), a slow growing tumor which may involve the central nervous system (CNS) and, rarely, the kidney. Herein we review the role of brachyury immunohistochemical detection in the identification and differential diagnosis of chordoma and HBL towards histological mimickers and suggest that brachyury is added to the panel of immunohistochemical markers for the recognition of HBL in routinary practice, principally in unusual sites.