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Cancer. 1997 Oct 25;81(5):293-8.

The cell adhesion molecule, E-cadherin, distinguishes mesothelial cells from carcinoma cells in fluids.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The distinction between benign reactive mesothelial cells and well differentiated carcinoma can be difficult in pleural, peritoneal, and especially pericardial fluids. E-cadherin is an adhesion protein that is specifically expressed in cells of epithelial lineage. In this study, anti-E-cadherin antibodies were used to identify and distinguish carcinoma cells from reactive mesothelial cells.

METHODS:

Pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial fluids were prepared using the Cytyc Thin Prep processor. The specimens were comprised of a mix of 45 cases that were diagnosed as carcinoma, suspicious, or reactive by Papanicolaou staining of routine material seen by the authors' service. Routine immunologic techniques were used with a commercially available E-cadherin antibody.

RESULTS:

In most cases of carcinoma, tumor cells showed a strong positive membranous reaction product (32 of 37). This included four cases that were not cytomorphologically diagnosed as malignant, but subsequently proved to be malignant. E-cadherin staining was not observed in five tumors, two of which were not expected to express this protein. One benign case showed cells staining for E-cadherin, although the cells were not malignant by morphologic criteria. Because this case was a surgical pelvic washing, these cells more likely were epithelial contaminants than true false-positives.

CONCLUSIONS:

The epithelial specific cell-cell adhesion marker E-cadherin reliably distinguishes reactive mesothelial cells from carcinoma and is a useful adjunctive test to distinguish benign reactive mesothelial cells from well differentiated carcinoma cells in fluid specimens.

PMID:
9349517
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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