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Hum Pathol. 2004 Aug;35(8):1014-21.

Expression of candidate tumor markers in ovarian carcinoma and benign ovary: evidence for a link between epithelial phenotype and neoplasia.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.


EpCAM, epithelial membrane antigen (EMA)-mucin 1 (MUC1), mesothelin, and CD9 have been reported to be overexpressed at the RNA level in ovarian carcinomas. By using immunohistochemistry, we profiled the protein expression of these gene products in ovarian carcinoma tissues and compared them with benign ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) and cortical inclusion cysts (CICs). Immunoreactivity for EMA and calretinin were used to define epithelial and mesothelial differentiation in nontumor tissues, respectively. Papillary serous (n = 16) and endometrioid (n = 10) tumors were immunopositive for EMA/MUC1 (100%), mesothelin (75% and 30%, respectively), CD9 (88% and 90%, respectively), and EpCAM (100%). All ovarian carcinomas and carcinoma cell lines tested were negative for calretinin. In nonneoplastic ovary, both OSE and CICs ranged from flat-to-cuboidal to stratified and ciliated in appearance. OSE with a cuboidal morphology had a similar immunoreactivity as omental peritoneum, expressing calretinin, mesothelin, and CD9. In contrast, CICs with stratified and ciliated epithelium show expression patterns similar to those in fallopian tubes. They frequently expressed EMA, EpCAM, mesothelin, and CD9. This immunophenotype is preserved in ovarian carcinomas, suggesting that Müllerian metaplasia signals the acquisition of these markers and that their expression is maintained in ovarian carcinomas that originate from this epithelium.

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