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Cytokeratins 7 and 20 in Primary and Secondary Mucinous Tumors of the Ovary: Analysis of Coordinate Immunohistochemical Expression Profiles and Staining Distribution in 179 Cases

Vang, Russell MD* †; Gown, Allen M. MD; Barry, Todd S. MD, PhD; Wheeler, Darren T. MD§; Yemelyanova, Anna MD*; Seidman, Jeffrey D. MD; Ronnett, Brigitte M. MD* †

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: September 2006 - Volume 30 - Issue 9 - p 1130-1139
doi: 10.1097/
Original Articles

Coordinate expression profiles for cytokeratins 7 and 20 (CK7 and CK20) are useful for distinguishing certain types of adenocarcinomas but use for distinction of primary and secondary mucinous tumors in the ovary is limited due to the existence of a number of tumor types exhibiting overlapping CK7/CK20 immunoprofiles; the use of staining distribution patterns in the distinction of tumors with shared profiles has not been evaluated in detail. We report analysis of both coordinate expression profiles and staining distribution in 179 rigorously classified mucinous tumors in the ovary, including 53 primary tumors [35 atypical proliferative (borderline) mucinous tumors of gastrointestinal type and 18 invasive mucinous carcinomas] and 126 secondary tumors [28 colorectal adenocarcinomas, 54 appendiceal tumors (23 adenocarcinomas, 31 low-grade adenomatous mucinous tumors associated with pseudomyxoma peritonei), 14 pancreatic adenocarcinomas, 8 endocervical adenocarcinomas, 5 gastric adenocarcinomas, 4 gallbladder/biliary tract adenocarcinomas, and 13 adenocarcinomas of unknown primary sites). A CK7+/CK20+ immunoprofile was the most common profile in primary ovarian tumors (74%), upper gastrointestinal tract tumors (78%), and endocervical tumors (88%) but was occasionally observed in lower intestinal tract tumors (colorectal: 11%; appendiceal: 13% of low-grade tumors, 35% of carcinomas). A CK7/CK20+ immunoprofile was the most common profile in lower intestinal tract tumors (79%) and was uncommon in upper gastrointestinal tract tumors (9%), rarely seen in primary ovarian tumors (4%), and not seen in endocervical tumors. A CK7+/CK20 profile was observed in some primary ovarian (23%), upper gastrointestinal tract (13%), and endocervical tumors (13%) but not in lower intestinal tract tumors. For CK7+ tumors, staining distribution was very frequently diffuse (>50% of tumors cells positive) in primary ovarian, upper gastrointestinal tract, and endocervical tumors, whereas staining distribution was often focal (<50% of tumors cells positive) when present in colorectal and appendiceal carcinomas but not in low-grade appendiceal tumors. For CK20+ tumors, staining distribution was variable but often focal in primary ovarian tumors and nonlower intestinal tract tumors, whereas the pattern was almost always diffuse in lower intestinal tract tumors. Immunohistochemical staining distribution can supplement CK7/CK20 coordinate expression profiles to distinguish subsets of primary ovarian and metastatic lower intestinal tract mucinous tumors having overlapping immunoprofiles but neither coordinate expression profiles nor staining distribution distinguishes primary ovarian tumors from the nonlower intestinal tract metastases.

Departments of *Pathology

Gynecology and Obstetrics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

PhenoPath Laboratories, Seattle, WA

§Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (Department of GYN and Breast Pathology); (Current address: Dr Wheeler, Quest Diagnostics, Inc, Las Vegas, NV)

Washington Hospital Center (Department of Pathology), Washington, DC

Reprints: Dr Russell Vang, MD, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Division of Gynecologic Pathology Weinberg Building, Rm. 2242, 401 N. Broadway (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.