Endometrial Stem/Progenitor cell (ES/PC) Marker Expression Profile in Adenosarcoma and Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma

Ju-Yoon Yoon, Leanne de Kock, Colin J R Stewart, W Glenn McCluggage, William D Foulkes, Blaise A Clarke, Marjan Rouzbahman
Cancer Treatment and Research Communications 2021 March 31, 27: 100363

BACKGROUND: The uterus is one of the most dynamic organs in the human body, and this dynamic homeostasis is supported by endometrial stem/progenitor cells (ES/PCs), which are heterogeneous in their phenotype and degree of differentiation. ES/PCs are generally localized in the endometrial stroma, the site of origin for adenosarcoma and endometrial stromal sarcoma (ESS). Subsets of ESSs and adenosarcomas harbor SUZ12 or DICER1 gene alterations, two genes with roles in embryonic stem cell biology. However, the possible contribution of ES/PCs to tumorigenesis is unexplored.

METHOD: We examined the expression of eleven ES/PC markers, along with three proteins expressed in the mature endometrial stroma (ER, PR and CD10) in 60 uterine tumors (24 low-, 11 high-grade ESS, 25 adenosarcomas). Protein expression profiles were assessed by unsupervised hierarchical clustering. miRNA expression profiles were examined in a subset of adenosarcoma with/without DICER1 mutations, using the NanoString platform.

RESULTS: ES/PC markers were variably expressed, and the tumors exhibited limited immunophenotypic resemblance to different ES/PCs. Within the ESSs, the ES/PC marker clustering pattern was prognostic for both overall and disease-free survival. Comparing adenosarcomas and ESSs, most high-grade ESSs clustered with one another, while low-grade ESSs and adenosarcomas tended to cluster with one another. Among the adenosarcomas, the miRNA expression profiles were varied with respect to the DICER1 mutation status, with pathway analysis pointing to dysregulated signal transduction and stem cell biology.

CONCLUSIONS: ESSs and adenosarcomas exhibit varying immunophenotypic resemblance to ES/PCs. These expression profiles have prognostic implications and may be genetically driven.

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