by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
May 6, 2022
CD30 is a protein that is made by activated immune cells such as T cells and B cells. Greater than normal levels of CD30 is also made by some types of cancer that start from T or B cells, such as anaplastic large cell lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma. The tumour cells in embryonal carcinoma, a type of cancer that often involves the male testis, also make CD30.
Pathologists often test for CD30 to determine if the changes seen under the microscope are associated with a CD30 producing tumour, such as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, or embryonal carcinoma. This is particularly important for anaplastic large cell lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma because the tumour cells in these types of cancer can be difficult to see on the routinely performed hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stained slide.
“Positive for CD30” means that the cells of interest in the tissue sample were producing this protein. Both normal and cancerous T and B cells can be positive for CD30, so this result must be combined with other information before making a final diagnosis.
“Negative for CD30” means that the cells of interest in the tissue sample were not producing this protein. With the exception of some types of T and B cells, most types of cells are negative for CD30.
Your pathologist will combine the result of this test with other information such as the microscopic features seen on the routine hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) slide and the results of other immunohistochemistry tests before making a final diagnosis.