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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2005 Feb;129(2):194-9.

Estrogen receptor expression in papillary urothelial carcinoma of the bladder and ovarian transitional cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.

Erratum in

  • Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2005 Jul;129(7):852.



Relatively little is known about estrogen receptor (ER) expression in papillary urothelial carcinoma (PUC) of the bladder. Greater understanding of this feature of PUCs could aid with the treatment and identification of the origin of metastases, particularly with relation to the morphologically similar entity of ovarian transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).


To assess the presence of ERs in PUC of the bladder, its metastases, and ovarian TCC.


Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded archival tissue from 92 primary bladder PUCs, 11 PUC metastases, and 11 primary or metastatic ovarian TCCs was immunostained with a monoclonal antibody against the human ER beta-molecule. The ER-positive and ER-negative tumors were compared by the patients' sex and age, tumor grade, and the presence or absence of invasion. Statistical analysis was performed on the PUC results, first defining a positive result as staining of at least 10% of nuclei and then repeated using any percentage of staining as a positive result.


By the 10% criterion, 11% of PUCs of the bladder were ER positive. Invasive PUCs were more likely to be ER positive (P = .10). Women with ER-positive PUCs were older than their male counterparts (P = .03). By the second criterion, 22% of all PUCs were ER positive, and both higher grade and the presence of invasion were significantly associated with ER expression (P = .004 and .01, respectively). All 11 PUC metastases were totally ER negative. Ten of the 11 ovarian TCC cases exhibited strong and diffuse ER expression.


Depending on the criterion used, up to 22% of bladder PUCs were ER positive. Higher grade and the presence of invasion were significantly associated with ER expression in these bladder carcinomas. In contrast, almost all of the ovarian TCCs marked strongly for ERs, a characteristic that may help differentiate these lesions from PUCs metastatic to the ovary.

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