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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2007 Aug;131(8):1304-11.

Immunophenotypic characterization of anal gland carcinoma: loss of p63 and cytokeratin 5/6.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY, USA.


Anal gland carcinoma (AGC) is a rare perianal invasive cancer composed of tubular glands lined by cuboidal epithelium. The clinical features and histogenesis of AGC are not well understood and its origin from anal glands is often difficult to prove. Little is known about immunophenotypic features of AGC that could be useful in establishing the diagnosis. This study evaluated the immunohistochemical profile of 2 cases of AGC in comparison to anal glands from 11 hemorrhoidectomy specimens. Sections from the specimens were routinely processed and immunostained using commercial antibodies to cytokeratin (CK) 7, CK20, CK5/ 6, p63, CDX2, smooth muscle actin, calponin, heavy chain smooth muscle myosin, p53, and p16. In case 1 of AGC, radiation and chemotherapy preceded an abdominoperineal resection. In biopsies from this case, the neoplastic anal glands had a tubular pattern, whereas most glands in the resection specimen exhibited mucinous features. The histologic pattern in case 2 was tubular. Normal anal glands showed immunoreactivity for myoepithelial and basal cell markers CK5/6 and p63 in basal and parabasal cell layers and for CK7 in superficial cell layers. In contrast, both cases of AGC were negative for CK5/6 and p63 and were diffusely positive for CK7. Normal glands and both cases of AGC were negative for the intestinal differentiation marker CDX2, CK20, smooth muscle actin, calponin, smooth muscle myosin heavy chain, p16, and p53. Our data suggest that loss of p63 and CK5/6 expression is a feature of AGC. Anal gland carcinoma shares negativity for CDX2 and CK7+/CK20- profile with normal anal glands. No evidence of myoepithelial cells was found in normal or malignant anal glands. These data may be useful in establishing the diagnosis of AGC.

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