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Mod Pathol. 2012 Jun;25(6):893-901. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2012.34. Epub 2012 Mar 2.

Value of Islet 1 and PAX8 in identifying metastatic neuroendocrine tumors of pancreatic origin.

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Department of Pathology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.


Neuroendocrine tumors can present as liver metastases before discovery of the primary tumor. Islet 1 and PAX8 have recently been proposed as markers for neuroendocrine tumors of pancreatic origin. In this study, we compared the utility of Islet 1 and PAX8 in distinguishing pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors from neuroendocrine tumors of other sites and determined the usefulness of an immunohistochemical panel, including TTF1, CDX2, Islet 1 and/or PAX8, in identifying metastatic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. A total of 110 primary neuroendocrine tumors (33 pancreatic, 31 pulmonary, 23 ileal, 14 rectal, and 9 gastric) and 73 metastatic neuroendocrine tumors (28 pancreatic, 5 pulmonary, 37 ileal, 1 rectal, 1 colonic, and 1 duodenal) were studied. Islet 1 and PAX8 were positive in 27/33 (82%) and 29/33 (88%), respectively, of primary pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, and in 19/28 (68%) and 15/28 (54%), respectively, of metastatic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. No cases of primary (0/23) or metastatic (0/37) ileal neuroendocrine tumors were positive with either Islet 1 or PAX8. There was Islet 1 positivity in 2/31 (6%) primary pulmonary, 12/14 (86%) primary rectal, and 1/1 metastatic rectal neuroendocrine tumors, and PAX8 positivity in 7/31 (23%) primary pulmonary, 11/14 (79%) primary rectal, and 2/9 (22%) primary gastric neuroendocrine tumors. ROC curve analysis incorporating sensitivity and specificity data of immunohistochemical panels for metastatic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors showed that a four-stain panel, including Islet 1, PAX8, TTF1, and CDX2 significantly outperformed a three-stain panel composed of PAX8, TTF1, and CDX2 (P=0.019), and also showed a trend for better performance compared with a three-stain panel composed of Islet 1, TTF1, and CDX2 (P=0.072). Both Islet 1 and PAX8 are reliable immunohistochemical markers for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and would be useful adjuncts to other markers (TTF1, CDX2) currently used to work up a metastatic neuroendocrine tumor of unknown primary.

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