We previously demonstrated that the developmentally regulated gene, SOX6, is strongly expressed in glioma cells and in the fetal brain, but only faintly in the normal adult brain. Recent studies have indicated that brain tumor cells may share antigens, signaling systems, and behavior with neural stem/progenitor cells. To test the validity of this proposition, we analyzed the expression of SOX6 in various human central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that astrocytic and oligodendroglial tumors expressed SOX6; neuronal-glial cell tumors (central neurocytoma) and embryonal tumors (medulloblastoma), which arise from multipotential stem cell precursors, also showed a high intensity of SOX6 staining. In contrast, ependymal tumors (ependymoma and subependymoma), meningioma, and schwannoma, which are all well differentiated tumors, showed either no staining or only faint staining for SOX6. These results suggest that SOX6 may be expressed in bipotential or multipotential cells capable of neuronal and glial differentiation, but not in fully differentiated cells. SOX6 may be a useful marker for the diagnosis of tumors arising from immature bipotential cells that may differentiate into neuronal and glial cells.
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