Although well established as a marker of mesothelial cells, calretinin is also expressed in several other tissue types, including adipose tissue. Accordingly, immunohistochemical staining for calretinin has been described in an increasing number of neoplasms other than mesothelioma. A detailed analysis of calretinin expression in lipogenic tumors has not yet been reported, however. Given the known expression patterns of calretinin in normal tissues, we predicted that calretinin immunoreactivity would be detected in lipoma and the various histologic subtypes of liposarcoma, and that this marker might be of use in the differential diagnosis of selected fatty tumors. A variety of pleomorphic and small round cell sarcomas were studied for comparison. Calretinin immunoreactivity was detected, at least focally, in all 10 samples of normal adipose tissue and in 22 of 23 lipomas or lipoma variants. Staining for calretinin was also positive within the lipogenic component of 28 of 29 liposarcoma variants. Of the 7 dedifferentiated liposarcomas, 3 were focally positive for calretinin. Pleomorphic variants of other sarcomas, including undifferentiated high-grade pleomorphic sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor also exhibited focal calretinin immunoreactivity in a minority of cases, as did some small round cell sarcomas. These results suggest that calretinin immunoreactivity in normal and neoplastic adipose tissue is more ubiquitous than previously reported and may be a useful, albeit nonspecific marker of lipogenic differentiation. However, its utility in the differential diagnosis of fatty tumors appears limited.