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Cancer. 1997 Sep 1;80(5):908-16.

Histochemical analysis of estrogen and progesterone receptors and gastric-type mucin in mucinous ovarian tumors with reference to their pathogenesis.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Shinshu University, Asahi, Matsumoto, Japan.



Mucinous tumors of the ovary have been thought to originate in two ways: by müllerian-type metaplasia of surface epithelium, and as monodermal teratomas. To gain a better understanding of their pathogenesis, the authors analyzed these tumors for their expression of estrogen receptors (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR) as markers of müllerian-type differentiation and for their content of gastric-type mucin as a marker of gastric differentiation.


The histochemical expression of ER, PR, and gastric-type mucin was studied in 10 specimens of the cervix with normal endocervical glands (as a representative of müllerian-derived mucin-containing cells), 3 ovary specimens with surface epithelial inclusion cysts that contained endocervical-like mucin-containing cells (representing müllerian-type metaplasia), and 47 mucinous tumors of the ovary (29 benign, 8 with low malignant potential, and 10 malignant).


Normal endocervical glands expressed ER and PR and rarely expressed gastric-type mucin. Ovarian inclusion cysts showed strong expression of ER and PR in the cuboidal cells and drastically reduced expression in the endocervical-like mucin-containing cells. The cuboidal cells were negative for gastric-type mucin, but the endocervical-like mucin-containing cells expressed gastric-type mucin. Endocervical-like mucinous cells in benign and borderline mucinous tumors showed expression of PR and/or gastric-type mucin in all cases.


The staining results for the inclusion cysts support the thesis that the endocervical-like mucinous cells encountered in the ones that express ER and PR weakly or not at all and have histochemical properties of normal gastric epithelium have their origin in metaplasia of müllerian-type epithelium. Application of the same staining methods to benign ovarian tumors and those with low malignant potential suggests strongly that similar müllerian-type metaplasia is a major pathway in their pathogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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