Histologic, Immunohistochemical, and Molecular Classification of 52 IPMNs of the Pancreas

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Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) of the pancreas account for approximately 5% of pancreatic neoplasms. Prognosis is superior to that of pancreatic invasive ductal carcinoma. IPMNs reveal a variety of epithelial linings expressing different mucin staining patterns and may progress along different oncogenic pathways.

Materials and Methods

Fifty-two IPMNs were studied for expression of MUC1, MUC2, p16, p21, HER2, cyclin D1, and p53 protein and for mutations in K-ras, HER2, p53, EGFR, and BRAF genes. The cases were evaluated for dysplasia, presence of invasion, and morphology of lining epithelium.


Twenty-six IPMNs appeared intestinal (IN). Five were low, 12 moderate, and 9 high grade. K-ras mutations were found in 15, EGFR mutations in 2, and BRAF mutation in 1. Seven cases were pancreaticobiliary (PB) and all showed moderate to high-grade dysplasia. Six K-ras mutations and 2 p53 mutations were found in PB tumors. p53 mutations were in cases with high-grade dysplasia. Nineteen IPMNs demonstrated a gastric foveolar (GF) pattern. The majority of GF cases had low or moderate dysplasia. Sixteen revealed K-ras mutations and 1 case each demonstrated a HER2 or p53 mutation. Five IPMNs revealed invasive adenocarcinoma, including a colloid carcinoma from an IN type epithelium.


IN pattern IPMNs were the most common. Mixed histology was common. K-ras mutations were most common, but did not correlate with dysplasia. p53 mutations were seen in 6% of cases (only in GF and PB subtypes). A HER2 mutation was found in a GF IPMN. EGFR and BRAF mutations were restricted to IN IPMNs. These findings suggest the possibility of alternate pathways for carcinogenesis between epithelial subtypes of IPMNs.

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