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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2007 Jul;19(4):431-5.

Immunohistochemical diagnosis of canine ovarian epithelial and granulosa cell tumors.

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Department of Pathology, Section of Veterinary Pathology and Avian Pathology, Veterianry Faculty, University of Milan, Via Celoria 10, 20133 Milano Italy.

Erratum in

  • J Vet Diagn Invest. 2007 Sep;19(5):586. Greco, Valeria [corrected to Grieco, Valeria].


In humans and canines, the morphology of granulosa cell tumors is extremely variable and causes diagnostic difficulties. In human pathology, immunohistochemistry has been widely used for the diagnosis of granulosa cell tumors, whereas, limited studies are present in canine species. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of cytokeratins, vimentin, and inhibin-alpha in canine normal ovaries, epithelial ovarian tumors, and granulosa cell tumors to establish an immunohistochemical panel for the differential diagnosis of ovarian tumors. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections from 4 normal ovaries, 8 granulosa cell tumors, and 6 epithelial ovarian tumors (2 adenomas and 4 adenocarcinomas) sections were obtained and stained with hematoxylin and eosin and immunohistochemically for cytokeratin AE1/AE3, cytokeratin 7, vimentin, and inhibin-alpha. In normal ovaries, cytokeratin 7, cytokeratin AE1/AE3, and vimentin were expressed in the surface epithelium. Granulosa cells were negative for cytokeratin 7 and displayed variable expression of vimentin, cytokeratin AE1/AE3, and inhibin-alpha toward follicular maturation. Granulosa cell tumors were negative for cytokeratin 7 and positive for inhibin-alpha. Conversely, ovarian epithelial cells tumors were positive for cytokeratin 7 and negative for inhibin-alpha. Both granulosa and epithelial cell tumors displayed variable expression of vimentin. Cytokeratin AE1/AE3 was expressed by all epithelial-derived tumors and 6 of 8 granulosa cell tumors. The results of this study suggest that useful immunohistochemical markers to distinguish epithelial ovarian tumors from granulosa cell tumors are cytokeratin 7 and inhibin-alpha.

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