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Histopathology. 2003 Oct;43(4):363-73.

Refining the diagnosis of hydatidiform mole: image ploidy analysis and p57KIP2 immunohistochemistry.

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Academic Unit of Pathology, Division of Genomic Medicine, University of Sheffield Medical School, Sheffield, UK.



To determine whether image analysis of ploidy status and immunohistochemical analysis of p57KIP2 (a paternally imprinted, maternally expressed gene) can be used to refine the diagnosis of molar pregnancy.


The original histological diagnosis in 40 randomly selected cases of hydatidiform mole was reviewed and confirmed in 38 cases (22 complete moles, 16 partial moles). These cases were anonymized and submitted for further analysis. Tissue from each case was submitted for flow cytometric assessment of DNA ploidy using a FACSort flow cytometer and for automated image cytometric assessment using a novel digital imaging system. Tissue sections from each case were immunostained with a monoclonal mouse antibody to p57KIP2. Correlations between the histopathological diagnosis, image cytometry, flow cytometry and p57KIP2 immunohistochemistry were determined using kappa statistics. The concordance between histological diagnosis and p57KIP2 was very good (kappa = 0.89). Twenty of the 22 (90.9%) complete moles showed no immunoreactivity for p57KIP2. The remaining two cases showed nuclear immunoreactivity in villous cytotrophoblast. In one of these, the pattern of staining resembled that of a partial mole. In the other, the staining pattern supported the diagnosis of a twin molar/non-molar pregnancy. All 16 partial moles were p57KIP2 immunoreactive. On flow cytometry, all 22 complete moles were diploid and 12/16 partial moles were triploid (the remaining four cases originally diagnosed as partial moles were found to be diploid). On image cytometry, one case originally diagnosed as complete mole was found to contain a triploid population. Thus, by using a combination of image cytometry and p57KIP2 status we were able to refine the diagnosis of molar pregnancy in five (13%) of the cases studied.


Automated image cytometry is a readily performed investigation which is comparable to, but more sensitive than, flow cytometry. Complementary use of ploidy analysis and p57KIP2 status can now help to distinguish a diploid hydropic miscarriage (p57KIP2-positive), diploid complete mole (p57KIP2-negative) and triploid partial mole (p57KIP2-positive).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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