Antibodies to CD117 are widely used in immunohistochemistry to help distinguish particular types of tumour in histological tissue sections. It is used primarily in the diagnosis of GISTs, which are positive for CD117, but negative for markers such as desmin and S-100, which are positive in smooth muscle and neural tumors, which have a similar appearance. In GISTs, CD117 staining is typically cytoplasmic, with stronger accentuation along the cell membranes. CD117 antibodies can also be used in the diagnosis of mast cell tumours and in distinguishing seminomas from embryonal carcinomas.
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