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Virchows Arch. 2012 Aug;461(2):169-75. doi: 10.1007/s00428-012-1272-5. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase expression in neuroendocrine neoplasms of the stomach.

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  • 1Division of Molecular and Diagnostic Pathology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata University, Niigata, Japan.


The enzyme alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase plays an important role in the beta-oxidation of branched-chain fatty acid and its derivatives. It has been used to detect prostatic adenocarcinoma and high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia, and recently also as a marker for other neoplasms, including those of the genitourinary system, breast, upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and their precursor lesions. We assessed expression of alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase by immunohistochemistry in neuroendocrine tumours of the stomach to determine differences in the incidence and pattern of expression among different types of gastric neuroendocrine tumours. While none of the grade 1 neuroendocrine tumours were immunoreactive, 67 % of grade 2 neuroendocrine tumours and 90 % of neuroendocrine carcinomas were positive for alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase. Furthermore, an adenocarcinoma component was found in 72.5 % (37 of 51) of neuroendocrine carcinomas, whereas none of the grade 1 and 2 neuroendocrine tumours contained an adenocarcinoma component. In 83 % of neuroendocrine carcinomas, the adenocarcinoma component was positive for alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase, and both adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine carcinoma components stained positively in 78 % of these cases. Our results indicate that alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase is a useful marker for distinguishing between grade 1 (negative) and grade 2 neuroendocrine tumours, and neuroendocrine carcinoma of the stomach (frequently positive). Different patterns of alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase expression between gastric neuroendocrine tumours and neuroendocrine carcinoma suggest that these might develop via different tumourigenic pathways.

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