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Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2003 Apr;22(2):149-55.

C-kit immunoreactivity in endometrial adenocarcinomas and its clinicopathologic significance.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


The proto-oncogene c-kit is a transmembrane-tyrosine-kinase receptor that is structurally related to the platelet-derived growth-factor receptor (PDGFR) and is involved in cell differentiation. C-kit has been found to be expressed in certain solid tumors and may play a role in their tumorigenesis. Recently, a tyrosine-kinase inhibitor specific for the PDGFR family, bcr-abl, and c-kit (STI571) has been reported to have therapeutic effects in tumors expressing the aberrant forms or high quantities of target proteins. Expression of c-kit has not been well evaluated in endometrial adenocarcinomas. In this study, c-kit immunoreactivity was evaluated on paraffin sections of 72 endometrial adenocarcinomas (57 endometrioid, 10 serous, and 5 clear cell) with a polyclonal antibody. Immunoreactivity of c-kit was analyzed semiquantitatively and correlated with various clinicopathologic factors. Cytoplasmic c-kit immunoreactivity was detected in 42 (58%) tumors. Thirty-four (60%) endometrioid, 8 (80%) serous, and 0 of the 5 clear-cell adenocarcinomas were c-kit positive. There was a significant correlation between c-kit positivity and the depth of myometrial invasion. Patients with c-kit-positive endometrial adenocarcinomas more frequently had metastases and shorter disease-free survival. Expression of c-kit may be a potentially adverse prognostic feature in endometrial adenocarcinoma. Patients with c-kit-positive advanced endometrial adenocarcinoma might benefit from tyrosine-kinase-inhibitor therapy.

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