Napsin A is a specific marker for ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma

Mod Pathol. 2015 Jan;28(1):111-7. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2014.61. Epub 2014 Apr 11.


Ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma has a relatively poor prognosis among the ovarian cancer subtypes because of its high chemoresistance. Differential diagnosis of clear cell adenocarcinoma from other ovarian surface epithelial tumors is important for its treatment. Napsin A is a known diagnostic marker for lung adenocarcinoma, and expression of napsin A is reported in a certain portion of thyroid and renal carcinomas. However, napsin A expression in ovarian surface epithelial tumors has not previously been examined. In this study, immunohistochemical analysis revealed that in 71 of 86 ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma patients (83%) and all of the 13 patients with ovarian clear cell adenofibroma, positive napsin A staining was evident. No expression was observed in 30 serous adenocarcinomas, 11 serous adenomas or borderline tumors, 19 endometrioid adenocarcinomas, 22 mucinous adenomas or borderline tumors, 10 mucinous adenocarcinomas, or 3 yolk sac tumors of the ovary. Furthermore, expression of napsin A was not observed in the normal surface epithelium of the ovary, epithelia of the fallopian tubes, squamous epithelium, endocervical epithelium, or the endometrium of the uterus. Therefore, we propose that napsin A is another sensitive and specific marker for distinguishing ovarian clear cell tumors (especially adenocarcinomas) from other ovarian tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / diagnosis*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / analysis
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • NAPSA protein, human