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Hum Pathol. 2005 Jul;36(7):732-40.

Neuroendocrine differentiation in extrahepatic bile duct carcinomas and its prognostic significance.

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Department of Pathology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul 138-736, South Korea.


Neuroendocrine differentiation is known to be one of the prognostic factors in many carcinomas. However, the characteristics of neuroendocrine differentiation are not well elucidated in extrahepatic bile duct (EBD) carcinomas. One hundred ninety-four cases of EBD carcinomas were analyzed using immunohistochemistry with synaptophysin and chromogranin. The tumors were graded as degree 0, 1, and 2 when the positive tumor cells were 5% or less, 6% to 25%, and 26% or more, respectively. Immunohistochemical results were compared with clinicopathologic variables and survival rate. Synaptophysin and chromogranin were positive in 54 (27.8%) and 74 (38.1%) cases, respectively. Thirty-four cases (17.5%) were positive for both synaptophysin and chromogranin, 20 (10.3%) and 40 cases (20.6%) were positive only for synaptophysin and for chromogranin, respectively, and 100 cases (51.6%) were negative for both markers. There was a significant survival difference between overall synaptophysin-positive (median, 27 months) and synaptophysin-negative (38 months) groups (P < .05). However, there was no survival difference between chromogranin-positive and chromogranin-negative groups. There was a significant survival difference between the dual-positive expression to synaptophysin and chromogranin group (median, 21 months) and the dual-negative expression group (median, 35 months; P < .05). In summary, synaptophysin expression was an important prognostic factor because synaptophysin-positive cases showed a worse prognosis than synaptophysin-negative cases. The more tumor cells expressed chromogranin, the poorer the survival. Therefore, immunohistochemical studies for neuroendocrine differentiation may be helpful in routine pathological examinations for evaluating the survival and the prognosis of patients with EBD carcinomas.

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