Expression of aquaporin3 in human neoplastic tissues

Histopathology. 2012 Oct;61(4):543-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.04165.x.


Aims: Aquaporin3 (AQP3) is distributed widely in mammalian tissues and plays an important role in fluid homeostasis. The aim of this study was to investigate the pattern of expression of AQP3 in a variety of human neoplastic tissues and to explore its diagnostic implications.

Methods and results: We studied 798 neoplastic tissues using immunohistochemistry with anti-AQP3 antibody. We demonstrated a high positive frequency of AQP3 immunoreactivity in pituitary adenomas, salivary gland tumours, thymic tumours, adenocarcinoma of the lung and prostate, squamous cell carcinomas of the skin, oesophagus and uterine cervix, apocrine carcinoma of the breast, germinal cell tumours of the ovary and testis and urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. None of the sarcomas or central nervous system tumours showed AQP3 immunoreactivity. Most tumours with a high frequency of AQP3 positivity had corresponding or surrounding normal cells that also expressed AQP3. AQP3 was not a specific marker for benign or malignant epithelial neoplasms.

Conclusion: AQP3 protein is expressed in a variety of epithelial tumours limiting its use as a diagnostic marker. Furthermore, AQP3 expression in tumour cells reflected the expression status of AQP3 in the corresponding normal cells. Our data suggest that water metabolism through AQP3 is maintained during neoplastic transformation in most human tissues.

Keywords: aquaporin3; immunohistochemistry; neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Aquaporin 3 / analysis
  • Aquaporin 3 / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • AQP3 protein, human
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Aquaporin 3