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BACKGROUND: VS38c is a monoclonal antibody that recognises a rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER) intracellular antigen termed cytoskeleton-linking membrane protein 63. rER is typically found in viable tumour cells and is abundant in osteosarcoma cells. The aim of this study was to determine the diagnostic and prognostic utility of VS38c in the histological assessment of osteosarcoma and other bone tumours/tumour-like leisons. METHODS: Immunohistochemical staining with VS38c was carried out on formalin-fixed specimens of osteosarcoma (pre/post-chemotherapy) and a wide range of benign and malignant bone lesions. In addition, VS38c staining of cultures of MG63 and Sa0S2 osteosarcoma cell cultures. (±cisplatin and actinomycin D-treatment) was analysed. RESULTS: VS38c strongly stained tumour cells in all low-grade and high-grade osteosarcomas and in undifferentiated sarcomas and high-grade chondrosarcomas. There was little or no VS38c staining of low-grade chondrosarcomas or chordomas and variable staining of Ewing sarcomas. Osteoblasts in benign bone-forming tumours and mononuclear stromal cells in chondroblastomas, giant cell tumours and non-ossifying fibromas strongly stained for VS38c. VS38c staining was absent in cisplatin and actinomycin D treated Sa0S2 and MG63 cells. In specimens of osteosarcoma post-neoadjuvant therapy, VS38c staining was absent in most morphologically necrotic areas of tumor although some cells with pyknotic nuclei stained for VS38c in these areas. Most tumour cells exhibiting atypical nuclear forms were not stained by VS38c. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that VS38c is a sensitive but not specific diagnostic marker of osteosarcoma. Staining with VS38c identifies viable osteosarcoma cells, a feature which may be useful in the assessment of percentage tumour necrosis post-neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Sarcoma Res

Publication Date





Bone tumour, Osteosarcoma, VS38c, Rough endoplasmic reticulum, Therapy