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Hum Pathol. 1996 Mar;27(3):274-81.

Transformation in recurrent ovarian granulosa cell tumors: Ki67 (MIB-1) and p53 immunohistochemistry demonstrates a possible molecular basis for the poor histopathologic prediction of clinical behavior.

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  • 1Pathology Department, University of California-Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA.


Ovarian granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) behave unpredictably. Stage I patients suffer recurrences many years after treatment, and histopathologic evaluation of the primary GCT offers only a few clues. Grading, in particular, is largely ineffective. Ki67 (MIB-1) and p53 monoclonal antibodies (active on paraffin embedded tissues) provide insight into nuclear proliferation and control, respectively. In this study, the authors hypothesized that these molecular markers will help predict the clinical behavior of GCTs. Paraffin sections from 68 GCTs (arising in 56 patients: 53 primary and 15 recurrent) including 34 typical and 27 diffuse adult, and seven juvenile types were immunostained for Ki67 (MIB-1 clone; Immunotech, Westbrook, ME) and p53 (DO7 clone; Novacastra Laboratories, UK). The Ki67 proliferation index (Ki67PI = percentage immunoreactive on a count of at least 400 nuclei) ranges from 1 to 50% (mean, = 12.2%; median, 9.3%). Nineteen percent of GCTs exhibited focal p53 immunoreactivity; the number of GCTs and proportion of nuclei decorated were as follows: four, <1%; seven, 1% to 10%; and one, 20%. Ki67PI was higher in recurrent tumors (P<.001) and correlated with mitotic rate (r = .75; P<.0001). p53 staining was associated with juvenile type GCTs (P<.001) and higher Ki67PI (P<.005). Other histopathologic features exhibited no association with p53 staining or Ki67PI. Follow-up was available for 54 of 56 patients: 18 suffered recurrences after 16 to 229 months (mean, 72.1 months; median 59 months), and 36 were disease free 16 to 369 months (mean, 78.2 months; median, 70 months) after diagnosis. Curiously, high Ki67PI and mitotic rates of primary GCT correlated weakly with a disease-free course (P=.03 and .07 respectively). Disease recurrence was associated with stage >I (P<.0005), vessel invasion in the capsule (P<.001), ruptured tumors (P<.005), and older patients (P<.02). p53 staining and size or subtype of GCT exhibited no prognostic value. For 12 patients, paired primary and first recurrence of GCT showed a striking increase in Ki67PI (P<.00005) and mitotic activity (P<.02) in the recurrence. p53 expression also appeared (de novo) in two recurrent GCTs. The interpretation of focal p53 staining (>10% nuclei decorated in only one GCT) is controversial. Some investigators suggest that this represents overexpression of wild type p53 rather than p53 gene mutation. Primary GCTs exhibit a wide spectrum of proliferative activity, and the seven juvenile GCTs (the most proliferative type) demonstrated no recurrences in this study. Recurrent GCTs displayed a transformation of molecular markers to increased proliferative activity and overexpression of p53, fundamentally, by these markers, a different GCT than the primary one. These findings suggest a molecular basis for the lack of histopathologic predictors for recurrence. Factors other than proliferation of the primary GCT (which relates most closely to grading) either extrinsic to the neoplasm (host dependent) or as yet undetectable must determine malignant behavior.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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