MOC-31 is a monoclonal antibody which recognises a 38 kDa glycoprotein (epithelial glycoprotein 2, EGP-2) of unknown function in epithelial cells. It was raised using neuramidase-treated cells from a small cell carcinoma as the immunogen16. It is expressed by a wide range of carcinomas. The epitope is similar to that identified by EMA19.

Immunohistochemical expression

It is expressed by a wide range of carcinomas but not lymphomas, melanomas, mesotheliomas or neuroblastomas17

Diagnostic utility

The antigen is usually expressed by adenocarcinomas, but is usually negative in mesotheliomas.




Delahaye 19911  (cytological specimens)



Ruitenbeeck 19942



Edwards 19953



Leers 19984



Kuenen-Boumeester 19965  (cytological specimens)



Delahaye 1997 (cytological specimens)11



Sosolik 19977



Ordonez 19986



Leers 199813



Chenard-Neu 199812



Morgan (cytological specimens)14



Oate 20008



Gonzalez-Lois 20019



Carella 200110



Ordonez 200315




91% (602/662)

12% (56/448)

A systematic review of seven studies (consisting of 213 pulmonary adenocarcinomas and 276 epithelioid mesotheliomas) reported sensitivities and specificities of MOC-31 for pulmonary adenocarcinoma of 93% and 93%19.


1 Delahaye, M., Hoogsteden, H. C., Van der Kwast, T. H. Immunocytochemistry of malignant mesothelioma: OV632 as a marker of malignant mesothelioma. J Pathol 1991;165:137-43.

2 Ruitenbeek, T., Gouw, A. S., Poppema, S. Immunocytology of body cavity fluids. MOC-31, a monoclonal antibody discriminating between mesothelial and epithelial cells. Arch Pathol Lab Med 1194;118:265-9.

3 Edwards, C., Oates, J. OV 632 and MOC 31 in the diagnosis of mesothelioma and adenocarcinoma: an assessment of their use in formalin fixed and paraffin wax embedded material. J Clin Pathol 1995;48: 626-30.

4 Leers, M. P., Aarts, M. M., Theunissen, P. H. E-cadherin and calretinin: a useful combination of immunochemical markers for differentiation between mesothelioma and metastatic adenocarcinoma. Histopathology 1998;32:209-16.

5 Kuenen-Boumeester, V., van Loenen, P., de Bruijn, E. M., Henzen-Logmans, S. C. Quality control of immunocytochemical staining of effusions using a standardized method of cell processing. Acta Cytol 1996;40:475-9.

6 Ordonez, N. G. Value of the Ber-EP4 antibody in differentiating epithelial pleural mesothelioma from adenocarcinoma. The M.D. Anderson experience and a critical review of the literature. Am J Clin Pathol 1998;109:85-90.

7 Sosolik, R. C., McGaughy, V. R., De Young, B. R. Anti-MOC-31: a potential addition to the pulmonary adenocarcinoma versus mesothelioma immunohistochemistry panel. Mod Pathol 1997;10:716-9.

8 Oates, J., Edwards, C. HBME-1, MOC-31, WT1 and calretinin: an assessment of recently described markers for mesothelioma and adenocarcinoma. Histopathology 2000;36:341-7.

9 Gonzalez-Lois, C., Ballestin, C., Sotelo, M. T., Lopez-Rios, F., Garcia-Prats, M. D., Villena, V. Combined use of novel epithelial (MOC-31) and mesothelial (HBME-1) immunohistochemical markers for optimal first line diagnostic distinction between mesothelioma and metastatic carcinoma in pleura. Histopathology 2001;38:528-34.

10 Carella R et al. Immunohistochemical panels for differentiating epithelial malignant mesothelioma from lung adenocarcinoma. Am J Surg Pathol 2001;25:43-50.

11 Delahaye, M., F. van der Ham, et al. (1997). "Complementary value of five carcinoma markers for the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, adenocarcinoma metastasis, and reactive mesothelium in serous effusions." Diagn Cytopathol 17(2): 115-20.

12 Chenard-Neu, M. P., A. Kabou, et al. (1998). "[Immunohistochemistry in the differential diagnosis of mesothelioma and adenocarcinoma. Evaluation of 5 new antibodies and 6 traditional antibodies]." Ann Pathol 18(6): 460-5.

13 Leers, M. P., M. M. Aarts, et al. (1998). "E-cadherin and calretinin: a useful combination of immunochemical markers for differentiation between mesothelioma and metastatic adenocarcinoma." Histopathology 32(3): 209-16.

14 Morgan, R. L., B. R. De Young, et al. (1999). "MOC-31 aids in the differentiation between adenocarcinoma and reactive mesothelial cells." Cancer 87(6): 390-4.

15 Ordonez, N. G. (2003). "The immunohistochemical diagnosis of mesothelioma: a comparative study of epithelioid mesothelioma and lung adenocarcinoma." Am J Surg Pathol 27(8): 1031-51.

16 De Leij, L., W. Helrich, et al. (1994). "SCLC-cluster-2 antibodies detect the pancarcinoma/epithelial glycoprotein EGP-2." Int J Cancer Suppl 8: 60-3.

17 Ordonez, N. G. (1998). "Desmoplastic small round cell tumor: II: an ultrastructural and immunohistochemical study with emphasis on new immunohistochemical markers." Am J Surg Pathol 22(11): 1314-27.

18 Pan, C. C., P. C. Chen, et al. (2004). "The diagnostic utility of MOC31, BerEP4, RCC marker and CD10 in the classification of renal cell carcinoma and renal oncocytoma: an immunohistochemical analysis of 328 cases." Histopathology 45(5): 452-9.

19 King JE, Thatcher N, Pickering CA, et al. Sensitivity and specificity of immunohistochemical markers used in the diagnosis of epithelioid mesothelioma: a detailed systematic analysis using published data. Histopathology 2006; 48:223-32

This page last revised 16.2.2006.

©SMUHT/PW Bishop