Glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), a glucose transporter, is an abundant protein in erythrocytes with expression beginning early in erythropoiesis. We sought to evaluate the utility of GLUT1 immunohistochemistry (IHC) as a diagnostic marker for identifying erythroid differentiation in hematopoietic tissues, including neoplastic erythroid proliferations.
A variety of benign and neoplastic bone marrow biopsy specimens containing variable proportions of erythroid precursors were selected (n = 46, including 36 cases of leukemia). GLUT1 IHC was performed using a commercially available polyclonal antibody. Each case was evaluated for staining of erythroid precursors, nonerythroid hematopoietic cells, and blasts. A GATA1/GLUT1 double stain was performed on one case to confirm coexpression of GLUT1 on early erythroid precursors. Staining was compared with other erythroid markers, including glycophorin C.
GLUT1 demonstrated strong membranous staining in erythroid precursors of all cases, which was restricted largely to the erythroid lineage. Of the 36 leukemia cases, all 6 cases of pure erythroid leukemia and both cases of therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia with erythroid differentiation showed positive GLUT1 staining in blasts. Otherwise, only lymphoblasts in B-lymphoblastic leukemia showed weak to moderate granular cytoplasmic staining (four of five cases).
GLUT1 IHC is a highly sensitive and relatively specific marker for erythroid lineage in benign and neoplastic bone marrow biopsy specimens.