An immunohistochemical analysis of ovarian small cell carcinoma of hypercalcemic type

Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2004 Oct;23(4):330-6. doi: 10.1097/01.pgp.0000139644.38835.9d.


Ovarian small cell carcinoma of hypercalcemic type (OSCCHT) is a rare neoplasm with an aggressive behavior, broad differential diagnosis, and unknown histogenesis. To add to knowledge concerning the possible aid of immunohistochemistry in resolving problems in differential diagnosis and to further explore whether that modality points to any specific histogenesis, we undertook an immunohistochemical study of this neoplasm. Fifteen OSCCHTs (including four of the ''large cell" variant) were stained with a range of antibodies, some of which have not been investigated previously in this neoplasm. Cases were stained with AE1/3, EMA, BerEP4, CK5/6, calretinin, WT1, chromogranin, CD56, synaptophysin, CD99, NB84, desmin, S100, CD10, alpha inhibin, TTFI, and p53. Staining was classified as 0 (negative), 1+ (<5% cells positive), 2+ (5% to 25% cells positive), 3+ (26% to 50% cells positive), or 4+ (>50% cells positive). All cases were positive with p53 (two 1+, five 3+, eight 4+), 14 of 15 cases were positive with WT1 (one 1+, thirteen 4+), 14 of 15 with CD10 (three 1+, four 2+, two 3+, five 4+), 13 of 15 with EMA (three 1+, three 2+, two 3+, five 4+), 11 of 15 with calretinin (nine 1+, one 3+, one 4+), 9 of 15 with AE1/3 (eight 1+, one 2+), 4 of 15 with CD56 (one 1+, two 2+, one 4+), 3 of 15 with BerEP4 (two 2+, one 4+), 2 of 15 with synaptophysin (two 1+), and 1 of 15 with S100 (4+). All cases were negative with CK5/6, chromogranin, CD99, NB84, desmin, alpha inhibin, and TTF1. The only noticeable difference in the immunophenotype between typical OSCCHT and the large cell variant was that there was 4 +EMA positivity in three of four cases of large cell variant compared with two of 11 cases of typical OSCCHT. OSCCHT is characteristically positive with AE1/3, EMA, CD10, calretinin, WT1, and p53. Combined EMA and WT1 positivity, the latter usually intense and diffuse, may be of diagnostic value, inasmuch as only a few of the neoplasms in the differential diagnosis are positive with both antibodies. Negative staining with CD99, desmin, NB84, alpha-inhibin, and TTF1 may aid in the cases in which primitive neuroectodermal tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, intraabdominal desmoplastic small round cell tumor, neuroblastoma, a sex cord-stromal tumor, and metastatic pulmonary small cell carcinoma are in the differential. Calretinin positivity precludes its use in the differential with granulosa cell tumors. The results of this investigation do not settle the issue of histogenesis, which remains enigmatic. The typical age distribution, follicle formation, and calretinin positivity are consistent with a sex cord origin. On the other hand, WT1 and EMA positivity and negative staining with alpha-inhibin would be unusual in a sex cord-stromal neoplasm and can be used as an argument for a surface epithelial origin. Germ cell and neuroendocrine origins seem highly unlikely.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / metabolism*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor