Application of p16 Immunohistochemistry and RNA In Situ Hybridization in the Classification of Adenoid Basal Tumors of the Cervix

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Our understanding of adenoid basal tumors of the cervix has evolved over time. Most of the proliferations referred to as adenoid basal carcinoma have a clinically benign course—leading some to suggest the term “adenoid basal epithelioma.” However, rarely, these may be associated with invasive carcinomas. These tumors have been etiologically linked with high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection. Here, we investigate the use of p16 immunohistochemistry and HR-HPV RNA in situ hybridization (ISH) in the classification of adenoid basal tumors of the cervix. Seventeen cases of adenoid basal tumors of the cervix were included. The patients’ age ranged from 19 to 79 yr (average, 59 yr). p16 immunostain was performed on all cases and RNA ISH was performed in 4 cases with available formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue. There were 11 low-grade tumors, 5 frankly invasive carcinomas, and 1 with histologic features that were intermediate between the former 2 categories. p16 immunostain was negative or showed patchy cytoplasmic staining in the low-grade tumors and was strongly and diffusely positive in the invasive carcinomas. HR-HPV RNA ISH was negative in the 3 low-grade tumors and was positive in 1 case of invasive carcinoma including the adenoid basal component. Distinct p16 immunostaining and HR-HPV RNA ISH patterns exist between low-grade adenoid basal tumors and invasive adenoid basal carcinomas. Our study indicates that p16 immunostaining and HR-HPV RNA ISH can be employed as useful ancillary tools in differentiating between noninvasive and invasive adenoid basal tumors along with careful histopathologic evaluation.

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