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Am J Clin Pathol. 2009 May;131(5):689-93. doi: 10.1309/AJCPVTZ06DHKCOGP.

Immunohistochemical detection of p63 and XIAP in thymic hyperplasia and thymomas.

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Department of Pathology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.


We subjected 23 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue blocks (11 cases of thymic hyperplasia and 12 thymomas [3 encapsulated, 8 with capsular invasion, and 1 atypical]) to incubation with monoclonal anti-X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) (BD Biosciences, San Jose, CA) and monoclonal anti-p63 (4A4, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA). Granular or heterogeneous cytoplasmic XIAP staining and nuclear p63 staining were considered positive. We compared thymic hyperplasia with thymoma and capsulated thymoma with thymoma with capsular invasion or atypia. p63 was positive in virtually all thymic epithelial cells in hyperplasia and thymoma. XIAP was negative in all hyperplasia cases except one. Of 12 thymomas, 9 were XIAP+ with focal/weak to diffuse/strong positivity: 2 of 3 encapsulated and 7 of 8 thymomas with capsular invasion were XIAP+. One atypical thymoma was XIAP-. XIAP expression differed significantly between hyperplasia and thymoma (P = .0007) but not between capsulated and invasive thymomas (P = .3797). p63 is consistently positive in nonneoplastic and neoplastic thymic epithelium. XIAP expression in thymoma suggests a possible role in the pathogenesis of thymoma and may be helpful in differentiating thymic hyperplasia from thymoma, especially in small biopsy specimens. However, the level of expression does not correlate with capsular invasion or atypia.

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