The immunohistochemical mucin expression pattern distinguishes different types of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas and determines their relationship to mucinous noncystic carcinoma and ductal adenocarcinoma

Am J Surg Pathol. 2001 Jul;25(7):942-8. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200107000-00014.


Intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas seem to comprise various types, whose relationship to ductal adenocarcinoma and mucinous noncystic carcinoma is unclear. We analyzed the mucin immunophenotype and the DPC4/SMAD4 expression in intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms, ductal carcinomas, and mucinous noncystic carcinomas to define features that may help to distinguish between different types of intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms and to establish their relationship to other neoplasms of the exocrine pancreas. A series of 51 intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms, three mucinous noncystic carcinomas (two with an intraductal component), and 35 ductal adenocarcinomas were screened immunohistochemically for their expression of MUC1, MUC2, MUC5, and DPC4/SMAD4. All intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms and mucinous noncystic carcinomas were positive for MUC5. Thirty-two intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms and three mucinous noncystic carcinomas abundantly expressed MUC2 but no (or only little) MUC1. The remaining intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms showed either mainly MUC1 expression or focal MUC1 and MUC2 expression. All ductal carcinomas but one were MUC2 negative and MUC1 and MUC5 positive. DPC4 was not expressed in two intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms that showed a tubular invasion pattern. Twelve of 23 ductal adenocarcinomas were DPC4 positive. Intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms can be divided into at least three different mucin immunophenotypes. The first and largest group of intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms and mucinous noncystic carcinomas is MUC1 negative and MUC2 positive and probably forms one tumor entity. The second group seems to be related to ductal carcinoma because of its MUC1 positivity in the absence or very weak MUC2 staining. The third group shows focal MUC1/MUC2 expression and is characterized by oncocytic histology.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma, Papillary / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Ducts*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Mucins