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Hum Pathol. 2011 Nov;42(11):1613-9. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Apr 14.

Hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β expression in clear cell adenocarcinomas of the bladder and urethra: diagnostic utility and implications for histogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins Hospital Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


The histogenesis of clear cell adenocarcinoma of the bladder/urethra is uncertain. Hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β is a homeodomain protein that has been reported to be frequently overexpressed in ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma in comparison with rare or no expression in other types of epithelial ovarian tumors. We assessed the expression of hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β in a series of 18 clear cell adenocarcinomas of the bladder and urethra and compared it with that of invasive high-grade transitional/urothelial carcinoma (n = 35); adenocarcinomas of the bladder, urethra, and paraurethral glands (n = 21); as well as nephrogenic adenomas of the bladder (n = 8). Staining intensity and extent were evaluated using a 4-tiered grading system (0-3). A case was considered positive for hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β if 10% or more of tumor cells showed at least weak nuclear staining or if any moderate or strong nuclear staining was observed. All 18 clear cell adenocarcinomas exhibited nuclear staining in at least 50% of tumor cells (16 strong, 1 moderate, and 1 weak with focal strong nuclear staining) in comparison with positive nuclear staining (moderate) in 1 of 21 bladder adenocarcinoma, 1 of 35 invasive high-grade transitional/urothelial carcinoma (weak to moderate staining), and 2 of 8 nephrogenic adenomas (1 weak and 1 moderate to strong staining). We concluded that hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β is a useful marker in differentiating clear cell adenocarcinomas of the bladder/urethra from invasive high-grade transitional/urothelial carcinoma and other types of bladder adenocarcinomas and to a lesser extent from nephrogenic adenomas. Hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β is of no diagnostic utility in discriminating primary bladder/urethral clear cell adenocarcinomas from metastatic clear cell adenocarcinomas of the female genital tract to the bladder/urethra. From a histogenesis standpoint, although the expression of hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β in both gynecologic and urologic tract clear cell adenocarcinomas may point to a Müllerian derivation/differentiation, this immunohistochemical evidence is insufficient to completely exclude an urothelial association.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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