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Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2012 Jul;31(4):304-12. doi: 10.1097/PGP.0b013e318243a97b.

The dichotomy in the histogenesis of endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer: clear cell-type versus endometrioid-type adenocarcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nara Medical University, Nara, Kashihara, Japan.


The histogenesis of endometriosis and endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer is one of the most mysterious aspects of pathology. To better understand the histogenesis of endometriosis and endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer, we analyzed the possibility of a link of endometrium, ovarian surface epithelium, and a cortical inclusion cyst to ovarian endometriosis and endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer by immunohistochemistry using the epithelial membrane antigen (an epithelial marker), calretinin (a mesothelial marker), and hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-1β (a clear cell carcinoma-specific transcription factor). During ovarian surface epithelium invagination, cortical inclusion cyst epithelial cells may, in some cases, undergo mesothelial-epithelial transition and subsequently differentiate into endometriosis. This case of endometriosis that has undergone Müllerian metaplasia arises from the HNF-1β-negative cells. The remaining endometriosis may develop from the late secretory and menstrual endometria, with HNF-1β-positive staining, by retrograde menstruation. Endometrioid adenocarcinoma and clear cell carcinoma arise from the HNF-1β-negative and HNF-1β-positive epithelial cells of endometriosis, respectively. It has been proposed that clear cell and endometrioid-type adenocarcinomas arise from distinct types of endometriosis with different cells of origin.

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