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Dentine matrix protein 1 (DMP-1) is a marker of bone-forming tumours

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Dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP-1) is highly expressed by osteocytes and is a non-collagenous matrix protein found in dentin and bone. In this study, we determined the expression of DMP-1 in mature and immature human bone and examined whether DMP-1 is useful in distinguishing osteoid/bone-forming tumours from other primary and secondary bone tumours. DMP-1 expression was immunohistochemically determined in paraffin sections of a wide range of benign and malignant primary bone tumours and tumour-like lesions (n = 353). DMP-1 mRNA expression was also examined in osteosarcoma and fibrosarcoma cell lines as well as bone tumour specimens (n = 5) using real-time PCR. In lamellar and woven bone, DMP-1 was expressed in the matrix around osteocyte lacunae and canaliculi; osteoblasts and other cell types in the bone were negative. Matrix staining of the osteoid and bone was seen in bone-forming tumours including osteoma, osteoid osteoma, osteoblastoma and osteosarcoma. DMP-1 staining was also seen in fibrous dysplasia, osteofibrous dysplasia and chondroblastoma and in reactive bone in solitary bone cysts and aneurysmal bone cysts. DMP-1 was not expressed in the tumour component of other bone neoplasms including Ewing sarcoma, chondrosarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, giant cell tumour of bone and metastatic carcinoma. DMP-1 mRNA was expressed in osteosarcoma cell lines and tumour samples. DMP-1 is a matrix marker expressed around osteocytes in human woven and lamellar bone and is useful in identifying osteosarcoma and other bone-forming tumours.

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Dentin matrix protein 1


Alkaline phosphatase


Giant cell tumour of bone


Aneurysmal bone cyst


Solitary bone cyst


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We would like to thank Chris Lowe for typing the manuscript. The authors acknowledge the support of the Oxford NIHR BRU and BRC. TGK and NAA conceived the study and experiments. TGK and AD carried out the experiments and TGK, UO and NAA analysed the data. All authors were involved in writing the paper and had final approval of the submitted and published versions.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to N. A. Athanasou.

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Kashima, T.G., Dongre, A., Oppermann, U. et al. Dentine matrix protein 1 (DMP-1) is a marker of bone-forming tumours. Virchows Arch 462, 583–591 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00428-013-1399-z

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  • Bone tumours
  • Osteoid
  • DMP-1
  • Osteocyte
  • Osteosarcoma