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Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2004 Dec;12(4):285-9.

Comparison of 34betaE12 and P63 in 100 consecutive prostate carcinoma diagnosed by needle biopsies.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, Indiana 47303, USA.


P63, a homologue of p53, was recently identified as a useful basal cell-specific marker. We compared the sensitivity and specificity of p63 with the widely used high-molecular-weight keratin 34betaE12 for the diagnosis of prostate carcinoma in needle biopsies. We selected 100 consecutive prostate carcinoma diagnosed by needle biopsies with an adequate number of cancerous glands on the slide. We chose 1 representative hematoxylin and eosin-stained slide from each case and gave it a Gleason score. The same paraffin block was retrieved for 34betaE12 and p63 stains. We compared staining patterns of 34betaE12 and p63 on both malignant glands and benign glands and recorded basal cell density (percentage of basal cells with positive staining in the benign glands). The cases were divided into 3 groups according to the Gleason score: 5 to 6 (31 cases), 7 (46 cases), and 8 to 10 (23 cases). In 20 cases, focal and patchy staining in a basal cell distribution in malignant glands (range, 1%-20%; mean, 6.6%) was demonstrated (19 by both stains and 1 by 34betaE12 only). In 1 case with a Gleason score of 9, the cancer cells, not the basal cells, were stained focally by p63 but not by 34betaE12. Higher-grade tumors demonstrated higher numbers of malignant glands with basal cell staining (1.65% for Gleason 7, 1.26% for Gleason 8-10, compared with 0.42% for Gleason 5-6). The overall specificity of the absence of basal cell staining in the malignant glands for 34betaE12 and p63 was 98.63% and 98.60%, respectively. In 17 cases, both stains revealed total absence of basal cell staining in some benign glands (range, 1%-10%; mean, 3.5%). The overall sensitivity in identifying basal cells in benign glands was 99.48% and 99.44% for 34beta12 and p63, respectively. Basal cell density was higher for 34betaE12 in comparison with p63 (92% vs. 87%). For diagnosing prostate carcinoma in the needle biopsies, p63 is as specific and sensitive Hospital as 34betaE12 and therefore can be used as a complementary basal cell-specific stain for 34betaE12 in difficult cases.

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