Brenner tumors but not transitional cell carcinomas of the ovary show urothelial differentiation: immunohistochemical staining of urothelial markers, including cytokeratins and uroplakins

I Riedel, B Czernobilsky, B Lifschitz-Mercer, L M Roth, X R Wu, T T Sun, R Moll
Virchows Archiv: An International Journal of Pathology 2001, 438 (2): 181-91
To determine whether Brenner tumors and transitional cell carcinomas (TCCs) of the ovary are urothelial in type, the immunoprofiles of 14 Brenner tumors, including three malignant examples, and eight ovarian TCCs were compared with those of Walthard nests, urothelium, 12 urinary bladder TCCs and 17 ovarian adenocarcinomas (serous, endometrioid, mucinous, and undifferentiated type). The immunohistochemical stains used included those for cytokeratins CKs 5/6, CK7, CK8, CK13, and CK20, vimentin, CA125, and the specific urothelial differentiation marker uroplakin III. CK7 and CK8 were broadly expressed in most tumors of ovary and bladder examined, while vimentin was focally present in some ovarian TCCs and adenocarcinomas. As in normal and neoplastic bladder urothelium, urothelial markers, including uroplakin III, CK13, and CK20, were detected in the epithelial nests of Brenner tumors. Brenner tumor cells also expressed uroplakins Ia and II. CA125 was observed focally in some Brenner tumors. In contrast, TCCs of the ovary and Walthard nests lacked uroplakins and were essentially negative for CK20 and CK13 but quite strongly expressed CA125. This immunophenotype closely resembled that found in ovarian adenocarcinomas. Thus, it appears that the only true urothelial-type ovarian neoplasm is the Brenner tumor, whereas ovarian TCC most likely represents a poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma with a morphologic transitional cell pattern. These results may explain the controversies as expressed in the recent literature concerning TCC of the ovary and establish its place among the ovarian adenocarcinomas of müllerian type.

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