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Tohoku J Exp Med. 2005 May;206(1):31-40.

Ber-EP4 and anti-calretinin antibodies: a useful combination for differential diagnosis of various histological types of ovarian cancer cells and mesothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


The differential diagnosis between reactive mesothelial cells and ovarian carcinoma cells is often difficult in cytologic specimens. Immunocytochemical procedures have been utilized in assisting this differential diagnosis, with limitations. Furthermore, previous studies examined only serous type but not other histological types of ovarian carcinoma cases. Therefore, we evaluated the practical value of various epithelial and mesothelial markers in differential diagnosis of these two types of cells. Various types of ovarian carcinoma (serous, n = 22; mucinous, n = 10; endometrioid, n = 7; clear cell, n = 10) and benign mesothelial tissues (n = 15) were studied by immunohistochemistry. We then studied effective panels of antibodies by immunohistochemistry in 43 cytologic specimens of ascites or peritoneal lavage fluid consisting of 20 reactive mesothelium and 23 adenocarcinomas of the ovary. In the tissue specimens, Ber-EP4, a monoclonal antibody of epithelial antigen, and a polyclonal antibody against calretinin, which is expressed in mesothelium, are used in differentiating reactive mesothelial cells from ovarian carcinoma. In cytologic specimens, the sensitivity and specificity of Ber-EP4 were 100% and 90%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the anti-calretinin antibody were 90% and 91%, respectively. Using multiple regression analysis, the correlation coefficient between epithelial antigen and calretinin reactivity was r = 0.938, with a significance level of p < 0.0001. In conclusion, the combined immunostaining of cytologic specimens for Ber-EP4 and the anti-calretinin antibody is helpful for the differential diagnosis between mesothelial cells and not only serous type, but also mucinous, endometrioid and clear cell types of ovarian cancer cells.

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