Diverse phenotypic profile of uterine tumors resembling ovarian sex cord tumors: an immunohistochemical study of 12 cases

Am J Surg Pathol. 2010 Dec;34(12):1749-61. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e3181f8120c.


Background: Uterine tumors resembling ovarian sex cord tumors (UTROSCTs) are rare neoplasms thought to be of putative endometrial stromal origin and solely composed of sex cord elements. Our study aimed to delineate the immunophenotype of these tumors and to verify whether their morphology reflects true sex cord-like differentiation.

Design: Representative paraffin blocks from 12 UTROSCTs were selected after confirmation of the diagnosis. Cords and/or trabeculae were seen in all tumors, whereas tubules, diffuse areas, and a retiform pattern were present in 9, 6, and 2 cases, respectively. Tumors were stained for sex cord (inhibin, calretinin, WT1, and melan-A), epithelial (KL1 and epithelial membrane antigen), and smooth muscle markers (smooth muscle actin, desmin, smooth muscle myosin heavy chain, h-caldesmon, and histone deacetylase-8), CD10, HMB45, S100, and CD117. Intensity and percentage of staining were recorded.

Results: Six out of 12 tumors were positive for sex cord markers (inhibin 3 of 12, calretinin 4 of 12, WT1 4 of 12, and melan-A 3 of 11) with 4 tumors coexpressing more than one marker. Half of the UTROSCTs showed positivity for KL1, with 2 tumors coexpressing epithelial membrane antigen. All but one tumor expressed one or more smooth muscle markers, with smooth muscle actin, desmin and histone deacetylase-8 being most commonly expressed. CD10 was positive in 6 of 12 tumors, CD117 in 4 of 12, and S100 in 2 of 11 tumors, whereas HMB45 was negative in 11 tumors tested.

Conclusions: UTROSCTs have a diverse immunohistochemical profile often coexpressing sex cord, epithelial, and smooth muscle markers. The expression of smooth muscle markers in these tumors does not imply a smooth muscle origin as endometrial and sex cord stromal tumors are not infrequently positive for these markers. Positivity for sex cord markers supports a true sex cord/steroid phenotype. Although the immunohistochemical profile of these tumors overlaps with that of endometrial stromal tumors with sex cord-like differentiation as well as ovarian sex cord stromal tumors, the origin of UTROSCT remains uncertain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Endometrial Stromal Tumors / metabolism
  • Endometrial Stromal Tumors / pathology*
  • Endometrial Stromal Tumors / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Phenotype
  • Sex Cord-Gonadal Stromal Tumors / pathology*
  • Sex Cord-Gonadal Stromal Tumors / surgery
  • Uterine Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / surgery


  • Biomarkers, Tumor