Endocervical Adenocarcinoma With Morphologic Features of Both Usual and Gastric Types: Clinicopathologic and Immunohistochemical Analyses and High-risk HPV Detection by In Situ Hybridization

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The fourth edition of the World Health Organization classification set up new entities of endocervical adenocarcinoma (ECA), namely the “usual type” and “gastric type.” These 2 types are considered to be distinct histogenetically because of their differing immunophenotypes, human papillomavirus (HPV) status, and prognoses. Usual-type ECAs (U-ECAs) are virtually always associated with high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection. Gastric-type ECAs (G-ECAs) are believed not to be associated with HR-HPV infection. Morphologically, U-ECA cells are characterized by mucin-poor and eosinophilic cytoplasm, resembling endometrioid carcinoma (a pseudoendometrioid feature). G-ECA cells are characterized by abundant clear or pale, mucinous cytoplasm and distinct cell borders. However, in routine practice we noticed that some ECAs contain morphologically usual type–like components and gastric type–like components in a single tumor; we have named these “G+U” ECAs. The histogenesis of such tumors has not been investigated. We conducted the present study to clarify the clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical features and HPV status of G+U ECAs, and to determine whether G+U ECAs are genuine G-ECAs mimicking U-ECAs or genuine U-ECAs with gastric type–like morphology. We retrospectively analyzed a series of 70 consecutive cases of ECA diagnosed as mucinous ECA, endocervical type, and we reclassified them on the basis of the latest World Health Organization classification. We identified 48 (69%) pure U-ECAs, 9 pure G-ECAs, and 13 G+U ECAs. Ten of the 13 G+U ECAs (77%) showed no HR-HPV infection by in situ hybridization (HPV-unrelated G+U ECAs) and showed frequent HIK1083 expression and aberrant p53 expression in both usual type–like and gastric type–like components. The other 3 G+U ECAs showed HR-HPV infection (HPV-related G+U EACs) and frequent p16+/p53−/HIK1083− immunophenotype in both usual type–like and gastric type–like components. The U-ECAs were characterized by HR-HPV infection detected by in situ hybridization and frequent p16+/p53−/HIK1083− immunophenotype, similar to that of the HPV-related G+U ECAs. In contrast, the pure G-ECAs were characterized by the absence of HPV infection and frequent HIK1083 expression and aberrant p53 expression, similar to that of HPV-unrelated G+U ECAs. G+U ECAs thus represent a heterogenous group composed of genuine G-ECAs and genuine U-ECAs. Most of the G+U ECAs we examined were genuine HPV-unrelated G-ECAs with usual type–like components showing mucin-poor, eosinophilic cytoplasm (pseudoendometrioid morphology). A small population of G+U ECAs was genuine HPV-related U-ECAs with gastric type–like components showing mucin-rich, voluminous cytoplasm. Thus, both types of ECAs can occasionally display patterns of differentiation suggesting a component of the other type but true mixed tumors do not appear to exist. Ancillary techniques (immunohistochemical analysis of p16, p53, and HPV DNA detection assays) should be used to assure proper classification of tumors with mixed morphologic features.

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