Immunohistochemical Staining for Ki-67 and p53 Helps Distinguish Endometrial Arias-Stella Reaction from High-Grade Carcinoma, Including Clear Cell Carcinoma

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The distinction of the Arias-Stella reaction from clear cell carcinoma of the endometrium is usually straightforward; however, this differential diagnosis can be difficult when the Arias-Stella reaction occurs outside the setting of pregnancy or in older patients. The differential diagnosis also is problematic when serous or clear cell carcinoma focally arises within an endometrial polyp, as part of “endometrial intra-epithelial carcinoma” (EIC), or in younger patients. The goal of this study was to determine whether immunohistochemical staining can distinguish the Arias-Stella reaction from endometrial high-grade carcinoma, particularly clear cell carcinoma. Cases of endometrial Arias-Stella reaction (n = 27), clear cell carcinoma (n = 11), serous carcinoma (n = 7), and EIC (n = 4) were assessed by immunohistochemical staining with antibodies for Ki-67, p53, estrogen receptor (ER), and progesterone receptor (PR). Composite immunohistochemical scores based on the percentage and intensity of stained cells were calculated, as was the overall positivity (percentage positive cases), using a cutoff value of ≥5% stained cells and at least weak intensity. Appropriate statistical tests were performed. Ki-67 and p53 immunostaining was significantly less in Arias-Stella reaction than in clear cell carcinoma (p < 0.0001 for both) or serous carcinoma/EIC (p < 0.0001 for both), measured by the composite immunohistochemical scores or overall positivity. ER showed a significant difference only between Arias-Stella reaction and clear cell carcinoma; PR showed a significant difference only between Arias-Stella reaction and serous carcinoma/EIC. When clinical or histologic features cannot facilitate the differential diagnosis, immunohistochemical staining for Ki-67 and p53 may help distinguish endometrial Arias-Stella reaction from clear cell carcinoma and other types of high-grade carcinoma.

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