Cytokeratin Expression in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor: A Clinicopathologic and Immunohistochemical Study of 687 Cases

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Gastrointestinal stromal tumor is the most common clinically significant mesenchymal neoplasm of the gastrointestinal tract. The expression of the intermediate filament cytokeratin in gastrointestinal stromal tumor is not frequently reported in the literature. The aim of this study was to investigate the immunohistochemical expression of several types of cytokeratin in a large number of cases (n=687), including a pan-cytokeratin marker (AE1/AE3 cocktail antibodies), high-molecular weight cytokeratins (34ßE12 antibody), and individual cytokeratins 8 (35ßH11 and CAM5.2 antibodies), 7, 14, and 20. Ki-67 antigen was used for the determination of cell proliferation index, and the correlation between Ki-67 and cytokeratin expression was evaluated. Cytokeratin expression was also correlated with several clinicopathologic parameters. The expression of pan-cytokeratin was observed in 24 (3.5%) cases, with variable intensity. Only 1 of 687 (0.1%) cases showed cytokeratin 14 expression. All 687 cases revealed no expression of high-molecular weight cytokeratins, cytokeratins 7, 8, and 20. No significant statistical association was found between AE1/AE3 immunoreactivity and several clinicopathologic parameters, including sex, tumor location and size, cell morphology, mitotic count, risk of aggressive behavior, and Ki-67 antigen cell proliferation index. However, statistical correlation between AE1/AE3 immunoreactivity and a higher age at diagnosis was detected. These results show that cytokeratin expression is not frequent in gastrointestinal stromal tumor, but caution is necessary to avoid erroneous diagnoses.

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