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Evaluation of squamous epithelium in adenoacanthoma and adenosquamous carcinoma of the endometrium: immunoperoxidase analysis of involucrin and keratin localization.


A study was undertaken to determine whether immunoperoxidase stains for keratin and involucrin, the latter a protein present in cells of stratified squamous epithelium that have differentiated beyond the basal stage, distinguish any differences in squamous cells present in the adenoacanthoma from those in the adenosquamous carcinoma of the uterine corpus. Forty-eight tumors were studied, of which 33 were adenoacanthomas and 15 adenosquamous carcinomas. The patients with adenoacanthomas were slightly younger (mean 61.5 vs. 64.5 years) and had tumors that were generally better differentiated than the adenosquamous carcinomas. The squamous epithelium in every tumor, regardless of histologic type, stained positively for keratin. There were no obvious differences in staining when tumors were stratified for histologic type, grade, or location within the tumor. The glandular portion of both tumor types stained irregularly, but nonetheless positively, for keratin in 71% of the cases. Involucrin was detected in 57% of adenoacanthomas and 87% of adenosquamous carcinomas. The deeper or more central portion of the squamous morules stained only if the more superficial or peripheral areas were positive. The extent of the involucrin staining was less in the adenosquamous carcinomas than in the adenoacanthomas. The glandular component of the tumors did not stain for involucrin. It is concluded that no qualitative differences in the staining reactions with respect to keratin and involucrin distinguish the adenoacanthomas from the adenoaquamous carcinoma. These findings support the argument that the adenoacanthoma and adenosquamous carcinoma represent a spectrum of squamous differentiation in a single tumor type.

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