The expression of Wilms’ tumor gene WT1 protein was investigated immunohistochemically in 73 glial tumors, including 60 astrocytic tumors, eight oligodendroglial tumors, and five ependymal tumors. WT1 protein was detected in 70 of the 73 glial tumors (95.9%) examined. Almost all glioblastomas, anaplastic astrocytomas, anaplastic ependymomas, and anaplastic oligodendrogliomas expressed high levels of WT1 protein. A significant (p < 0.001) correlation was found between WT1 protein expression and MIB-1 staining index. Histological examination found that WT1 protein was strongly expressed in the anaplastic portions and areas with perivascular proliferation and high cellularity, implying that WT1 gene might be important in glial tumor cell proliferation. WT1 gene is overexpressed in various types of solid tumors and WT1 protein is a target antigen for cancer immunotherapy. This study indicates that many malignant glial tumors are good candidates for cancer immunotherapy targeting WT1 protein and that WT1 protein expression could be used as a proliferation marker in glial tumors.
2007 by The Japan Neurosurgical Society