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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2005 Jul;129(7):920-3.

Expression of the intestinal marker Cdx2 in secondary adenocarcinomas of the colorectum.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, Hadera, Israel.



Secondary adenocarcinomas of the large bowel can closely mimic primary tumors. The differentiation of secondary from primary adenocarcinomas of the colorectum, however, is important because their clinical management and prognosis are different. Immunostaining with the nuclear transcription factor Cdx2, expressed in normal intestinal epithelia and colorectal adenocarcinomas, could be of potential diagnostic use.


To investigate the diagnostic value of Cdx2 immunoexpression in distinguishing primary from common forms of secondary colorectal adenocarcinomas.


Cdx2 immunoexpression was analyzed in 20 primary colorectal adenocarcinomas and in 34 secondary colorectal adenocarcinomas and their corresponding primary tumors. All secondary tumors were diagnosed through endoscopic biopsies and included 8 cases of ovarian (4 serous, 2 mucinous, and 2 endometrioid), 6 of mammary (4 lobular and 2 ductal), 4 of gastric (2 intestinal and 2 diffuse), 4 of pulmonary, 4 of pancreatic (ductal), 3 of prostatic, 3 of colorectal, and 2 of endometrial origin.


Cdx2 was expressed in normal colorectal epithelium, in primary colorectal adenocarcinomas (20/20 cases), in secondary adenocarcinomas of colorectal (3/3) and gastric (3/4) origin, and in metastatic ovarian mucinous adenocarcinomas (2/2). In contrast, no Cdx2 immunoreactivity was observed in secondary colorectal tumors of ovarian (serous and endometrioid), mammary, pancreatic, pulmonary, prostatic, and endometrial origin.


Cdx2 immunostaining may be useful in discriminating primary colorectal carcinomas from frequent types of secondary colorectal adenocarcinomas of nongastrointestinal origin. We suggest including Cdx2 in any antibody panel put together to distinguish between primary and secondary epithelial colorectal malignancies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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