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Loss of SATB2 Expression Is a Biomarker of Inflammatory Bowel Disease–associated Colorectal Dysplasia and Adenocarcinoma

Ma, Changqing MD, PhD; Henn, Patrick MD; Miller, Caitlyn BS; Herbst, Cameron BS; Hartman, Douglas J. MD; Pai, Reetesh K. MD

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: October 2019 - Volume 43 - Issue 10 - p 1314–1322
doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000001330
Original Articles

SATB2 is a sensitive immunohistochemistry marker of colorectal carcinoma and non-neoplastic colorectal epithelium that is complementary to CDX2. However, its expression is affected by molecular alterations. Inflammatory bowel disease–associated neoplasia demonstrates molecular alterations that are different from those in sporadic colorectal neoplasia. Given these differences, we examined SATB2 expression in 73 cases of inflammatory bowel disease–associated neoplasia including 37 dysplasia cases and 36 carcinomas and compared the expression patterns with 50 cases of nondysplastic colorectal mucosa in patients with active inflammatory bowel disease, 40 sporadic colonic polyps (20 conventional adenomas and 20 sessile serrated lesions/polyps), and 343 sporadic colorectal adenocarcinomas to assess SATB2 immunohistochemistry as a biomarker of inflammatory bowel disease–associated neoplasia. Loss of SATB2 expression was only identified in colorectal dysplasia arising in inflammatory bowel disease (15/37, 41%) and was not seen in nondysplastic colorectal mucosa with active inflammatory bowel disease or sporadic colonic polyps (P<0.001). Loss of SATB2 expression was identified in both endoscopically visible dysplasia (11/28, 39%) and invisible (4/9, 44%) dysplasia. Loss of SATB2 expression was identified in 67% (24/36) of inflammatory bowel disease–associated carcinomas and was significantly more frequent compared with sporadic colorectal carcinomas (47/343, 14%, P<0.001). There was no difference in positive CDX2 expression between inflammatory bowel disease–associated colorectal carcinoma and sporadic colorectal carcinoma (89% vs. 85%, P=1.0). In conclusion, loss of SATB2 expression is common in inflammatory bowel disease–associated colorectal dysplasia and adenocarcinoma and may be a helpful ancillary biomarker when evaluating for inflammatory bowel disease–associated dysplasia.

Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Correspondence: Reetesh K. Pai, MD, Department of Pathology, Presbyterian Hospital, University of Pittsburgh, 200 Lothrop Street, Room A-610, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (e-mail:

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