Background: The diagnosis of malignancy in pancreatic mucinous cystic tumors depends on demonstrating invasion that may be focal and require extensive sectioning.
Objective: To explore markers that may indicate malignant potential in mucinous cystic tumors.
Design: Routinely processed sections from resected specimens of 12 normal pancreata, 14 pancreata with chronic pancreatitis, 9 mucinous cystic tumors, and 30 invasive adenocarcinomas were immunostained with antibodies to p53, HER-2/neu, epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR), transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha), and Ki-67.
Results: Expression of p53, HER-2/neu, and Ki-67 was significantly more frequent in mucinous tumors than in normal pancreatic tissue and chronic pancreatitis tissue (P =.0003 to.05). Strong expression (more than one third of cells positive) and strong intensity (2+ and 3+) of staining of p53 and EGFR were seen only in carcinomas. Coexpression of p53/HER-2/neu and EGFR/HER-2/neu and a frequency of Ki-67+ nuclei of greater than 5% of cells discriminated between mucinous tumors and normal pancreatic tissue and chronic pancreatitis tissue. p53 expression was significantly more frequent in carcinomas than in mucinous tumor (P =.0326). Coexpression of p53/EGFR discriminated between mucinous tumors and carcinomas; however, TGF-alpha was not discriminative.
Conclusions: The immunostaining panel of p53, HER-2/neu, Ki-67, and EGFR can be helpful in indicating malignant potential in mucinous tumors of pancreas in routine pathology practice.