Clinicopathologic Association and Prognostic Value of Microcystic, Elongated, and Fragmented (MELF) Pattern in Endometrial Endometrioid Carcinoma

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Abstract

Microcystic, elongated, and fragmented (MELF) pattern is seen in the invasive front of some endometrial endometrioid carcinomas. Although MELF pattern can be expected as an indicator of patient outcomes, its prognostic significance remains unclear. This study was conducted to elucidate clinicopathologic features and the prognostic impact of MELF pattern in patients with endometrial endometrioid carcinoma. We retrospectively analyzed data of 479 consecutive patients with endometrial endometrioid carcinoma that had been surgically resected. In 45 of 427 patients (11%) with low-grade endometrioid carcinoma, MELF pattern was found, but it was found in none of the 52 patients with high-grade endometrioid carcinoma. Among the patients with low-grade endometrioid carcinoma, MELF pattern was associated significantly with larger tumor size, myometrial invasion of more than 50%, advanced International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stages, lymphovascular space invasion, lymph node metastasis, papillary architecture, and mucinous differentiation. However, survival analysis revealed that the patients with MELF pattern showed no significantly worse prognosis than those without MELF pattern either in disease-specific survival or in recurrence-free survival. MELF was not a significant prognosticator after adjustment for International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage (disease-specific survival [hazard ratio, 1.47; 95% confidence interval, 0.28-7.67; P=0.64], recurrence-free survival [hazard ratio, 0.98, 95% confidence interval, 0.32-2.99, P=0.98]). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that MELF pattern was positive for p16 and p21 and almost negative for Ki-67 labeling, which suggested that tumor cells in MELF pattern were involved in growth arrest or cellular senescence. We conclude that MELF pattern could have little impact on outcomes of patients with low-grade endometrial endometrioid carcinoma.

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