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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2000 Aug;124(8):1196-200.

Expression of cytokeratins 7 and 20 in carcinomas of the extrahepatic biliary tract, pancreas, and gallbladder.

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Department of Pathology, UMass Memorial Health Care, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.



Expression of cytokeratins 7 (CK7) and 20 (CK20) may help distinguish the site of origin for metastatic carcinomas. Little is known regarding their expression in biliary tract and pancreatic carcinomas. Our aim was to study the expression of CK7 and CK20 in these tumors.


Fifty-three carcinomas of the extrahepatic bile ducts (n = 8), ampulla of Vater (n = 7), gallbladder (n = 11), and pancreas (n = 27), were retrieved from the surgical pathology files of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections were immunostained with mouse monoclonal antibodies to CK7 and CK20 using an avidin-biotin immunoperoxidase technique with microwave antigen retrieval. The percentage of cells positive for each antibody was assessed on a scale of 0 to 3 (0, <10%; 1+, 10% to 50%; 2+, 51% to 90%; 3+, >90%).


The majority of carcinomas in all groups were positive for CK7 (CK7+) and negative for CK20 (CK20-). Of the CK7+ tumors, the majority of tumors in each group were 3+ positive.


(1) Carcinomas of the extrahepatic biliary tract and pancreas are strongly positive for CK7 and negative for CK20 and can be included in the differential diagnosis of other carcinomas with this profile in metastatic sites. (2) The CK7/CK20 immunostaining profile will not identify the site of origin for tumors with extensive growth in the porta hepatis region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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