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Seromucinous Tumors of the Ovary. What’s in a Name?

Kurman, Robert J. M.D.; Shih, Ie-Ming M.D., Ph.D.

International Journal of Gynecological Pathology: January 2016 - Volume 35 - Issue 1 - p 78–81
doi: 10.1097/PGP.0000000000000266
PATHOLOGY OF THE UPPER GENITAL TRACT: REVIEW
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The recent 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumours of the Female Reproductive Organs introduced a new category of ovarian neoplasm designated “seromucinous tumours”. The recognition of this distinctive group of tumors is an important addition to the classification but the term “seromucinous” has serious flaws that obscures the nature of these neoplasms. Morphologically, seromucinous tumors in addition to serous and endocervical-type mucinous epithelium, contain endometrioid, indifferent and squamous type epithelium. Their immunoprofile is characterized by frequent expression of ER, PR, infrequent expression of WT1 and lack of expression of CK20 and CDX2, an immunostaining pattern consistent with a “müllerian” immunophenotype. Unlike serous and intestinal type mucinous tumors, seromucinous tumors are frequently associated with endometriosis making them more analogous to endometrioid and clear cell neoplasms. Indeed, recent studies have shown that a high proportion of seromucinous tumors lost expression of ARID1A, a tumor suppressor gene, that is mutated in approximately 50% of endometrioid and clear cell tumors, in sharp contrast to serous and intestinal-type mucinous tumors which do not contain ARID1A mutations or lose its expression. Therefore, based on their clinicopathologic, immunohistochemical and molecular genetic features we believe a more appropriate designation for this group of tumors is “mixed müllerian tumors” which can be subcategorized as “mixed müllerian cystadenomas”, “mixed müllerian atypical proliferative (borderline) tumors” and “mixed müllerian carcinomas”.

Departments of Pathology, Gynecology/Obstetrics, and Oncology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland

Supported by Grants from the Department of Defense CDMRP Grant OC 100517 Grant # W81XWH-11-2-0230 and NIH/NC CA165807.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Robert J. Kurman, MD, Departments of Pathology, Gynecology/Obstetrics, and Oncology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Weinberg Building Rm 2242, 401N Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231. E-mail: rkurman@jhmi.edu.

©2016International Society of Gynecological Pathologists
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