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Am J Surg Pathol. 2007 Jun;31(6):889-94.

Immunohistochemical antibody cocktail staining (p63/HMWCK/AMACR) of ductal adenocarcinoma and Gleason pattern 4 cribriform and noncribriform acinar adenocarcinomas of the prostate.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


Overexpression of alpha-methylacyl coenzyme A racemase (AMACR) in combination with absence of basal cell markers [ie, p63 and high molecular weight cytokeratin (HMWCK)] is typical of classic acinar prostatic adenocarcinoma. We studied the expression and diagnostic utility of p63/HMWCK/AMACR immunohistochemical cocktail staining in ductal adenocarcinoma and cribriform Gleason pattern 4 acinar prostate cancer and compared it to noncribriform Gleason pattern 4 acinar prostate cancer. One to 4 representative formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded archival tissue blocks from 62 radical prostatectomy specimens harboring prostate cancer of ductal (n=51), cribriform Gleason pattern 4 acinar (n=27), and noncribriform Gleason pattern 4 acinar adenocarcinoma (n=48) were included in this study. Immunohistochemistry was performed using a triple stain of AMACR, p63, and HMWCK. Only staining that was moderate or strong was considered positive. The percentage of staining intensity and the presence of occasional basal cells positive with p63/HMWCK were recorded in each histologic type of prostatic adenocarcinoma. Seventy-seven percent of ductal prostatic adenocarcinoma, 67% of cribriform acinar prostatic carcinoma, and 81% of noncribriform acinar prostatic carcinoma showed positive staining for AMACR. There was no statistically significant difference between AMACR staining among the 3 histologic types, although there was a trend for noncribriform acinar prostatic carcinoma to have greater expression of AMACR than cribriform acinar prostatic carcinoma (P=0.07). Staining was often heterogeneous, varying in staining intensities within the same histologic type of carcinoma. Basal cells were detectable by p63 and HMWCK in a patchy fashion in 31.4% (16/51) of ductal and 29.6% (8/27) of cribriform acinar carcinomas compared with 2.1% (1/48) of noncribriform acinar carcinomas. In summary: (1) the majority of prostatic ductal and cribriform acinar carcinomas strongly expressed AMACR, however, subpopulations of these prostatic carcinoma were either completely negative or only weakly positive; (2) AMACR staining was often heterogeneous in intensity in the same histologic type of tumor, even within the same case; (3) patchy basal cell staining in noncribriform acinar prostatic carcinoma is rare. In contrast, remnants of basal cells identified by p63/HMWCK were seen in a patchy fashion in a significant minority of both ductal and cribriform acinar prostatic adenocarcinoma, which most likely represents intraductal spread of tumor.

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