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Am J Surg Pathol. 2002 Feb;26(2):206-15.

Utility of MMP-1, p53, E-cadherin, and collagen IV immunohistochemical stains in the differential diagnosis of adenomas with misplaced epithelium versus adenomas with invasive adenocarcinoma.

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Department of Pathology, UMass Memorial Health Care, Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.


Adenomas with misplaced epithelium in the submucosa of the polyp stalk ("pseudoinvasion") may be difficult to distinguish from adenomas that harbor invasive adenocarcinoma by morphologic analysis. Recently, several epithelial and stromal proteins, such as matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), p53, E-cadherin, and collagen IV, have been shown to be altered in colonic adenocarcinomas in comparison with adenomas and normal colonic mucosa. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic use of several epithelial (p53, E-cadherin) and stromal (MMP-1, collagen IV) markers in distinguishing adenomas with misplaced epithelium from those with invasive adenocarcinoma. Routinely processed polypectomy specimens from 23 patients with an adenoma with misplaced epithelium (male/female ratio 12/11; mean age 65 years) and 23 patients with an adenocarcinoma arising in an adenoma (male/female ratio 13/10; mean age 63 years) were immunohistochemically stained (avidin-biotin complex method) for monoclonal antibodies to MMP-1 (epithelial and stromal cell collagenase), p53 (tumor suppression gene), E-cadherin (intercellular adhesion protein), and collagen IV (basement membrane collagen component), and the results were compared between the two polyp groups. Where appropriate, immunopositivity was evaluated in the epithelium (MMP-1, p53, E-cadherin), stroma (MMP-1), and/or basement membrane (collagen IV). Cases were considered positive if an increase (MMP-1, p53) or decrease (E-cadherin, collagen IV) in either the intensity or proportion of cells staining was noted in the submucosal epithelial component compared with the intramucosal portion of the polyp head for each individual polyp. In adenomas with invasive adenocarcinoma, MMP-1 staining of the stroma surrounding submucosal epithelium and p53 nuclear staining within the epithelium were increased in 21 (91%) and 14 (61%) cases, respectively, whereas decreased or discontinuous E-cadherin and collagen IV staining was noted in 15 (65%) and 22 (96%) cases, respectively. All these values were significantly different (p < 0.005) from those observed in adenomas with misplaced epithelium [MMP-1, 11 of 23 (48%); p53, 1 of 23 (4%); E-cadherin, 0 of 23 (0%); collagen IV, 0/23 (0%)]. Furthermore, in three diagnostically difficult cases that contained foci of misplaced epithelium with high-grade dysplasia, the immunohistochemical results confirmed the impression that the lesions represented epithelial misplacement rather than invasive adenocarcinoma. In conclusion, the degree and/or pattern of MMP-1, p53, E-cadherin, and collagen IV staining in the submucosal epithelial elements in comparison with the intramucosal adenomatous tissue may help distinguish adenomas with misplaced epithelium from those with invasive adenocarcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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