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Acta Cytol. 2014;58(2):167-73. doi: 10.1159/000357199. Epub 2014 Jan 18.

Insulin-like growth factor-II mRNA-binding protein 3 expression in effusion cytology: a marker for metastatic adenocarcinoma cells and a potential prognostic indicator in gastric adenocarcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.



The aim of our study was to identify the diagnostic value of insulin-like growth factor-II mRNA-binding protein 3 (IMP3) in distinguishing metastatic adenocarcinoma cells (MAC) from reactive mesothelial cells (RMC) in effusions. We also investigated the role of IMP3 as a prognostic indicator for patients with malignant effusion.


A total of 156 cell block specimens, including 116 malignant effusions with MAC and 40 benign effusions with RMC, were subjected to immunocytochemical staining for IMP3.


Immunocytochemical studies showed positive staining for IMP3 in 91 of 116 (78.4%) cases of MAC and in 3 of 40 (7.5%) cases of RMC. With regard to distinguishing MAC from RMC, the IMP3 reactivity was found to be 78.4% sensitive and 92.5% specific with a positive predictive value of 96.8% and a negative predictive value of 59.7%. Diffuse IMP3 expression (>25%) in MAC from patients with gastric adenocarcinoma was associated with shorter survival (p = 0.001).


Our data suggest that IMP3 is a helpful marker for differentiating MAC from RMC, and that diffuse IMP3 expression is a poor prognostic indicator in patients with gastric adenocarcinoma and malignant effusion.

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