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Am J Pathol. 1997 Apr;150(4):1173-8.

Evidence for monoclonal expansion of epithelial cells in ovarian endometrial cysts.

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  • 1Investigative Treatment Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Kashiwa, Japan.


Ovarian endometrial cysts, one of the typical manifestations of endometriosis, are generated by the retention of cyclic hemorrhages and are classified as tumor-like lesions rather than neoplasms. Clonality analysis provides important information about the histogenesis and progression of neoplastic diseases. As it is generally accepted that most neoplasms are monoclonal in origin, however, the clonality of endometrial cysts remains uncertain. Using the human androgen receptor gene (HUMARA) as an X-linked polymorphic marker, we examined the clonal status of epithelial cells in endometrial cysts. We separated 21 fresh epithelial cell samples from 11 endometrial cysts and found that all were monoclonal in the methylation pattern of the HUMARA alleles. Moreover, in each of the five cysts from which epithelial cells were sampled from multiple and distant areas, the methylation patterns of all samples from a single cyst were identical. These data indicate that endometrial cysts are monoclonal in origin and suggest their neoplastic potentiality.

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