High glucocorticoid receptor expression in the sarcomatous versus carcinomatous elements of Mullerian carcinosarcomas

Gynecol Oncol Rep. 2022 Apr 27;41:100987. doi: 10.1016/j.gore.2022.100987. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Glucocorticoid receptor can be associated with poor prognosis among a variety of solid tumors in the absence of other nuclear hormone receptors. Our objective was to characterize differences in glucocorticoid receptor (GR), estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and androgen receptor expression in the sarcomatous versus carcinomatous components of ovarian and uterine carcinosarcomas. Eighteen patients diagnosed with Mullerian carcinosarcoma between May 2009 and August 2014 were included. Nuclear receptor expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry using whole tissue specimens. Receptor expression was quantified using the H-score. Mean H-scores were compared between the sarcomatous and carcinomatous components of tumors using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. We found that GR expression was significantly higher in the sarcomatous components than in the carcinomatous components of the cancers (mean H score 144.4 vs 38.9, p = 0.002). Conversely, ER (3.1 vs 63.1, p = 0.002) and PR (1.7 vs 47.2, p < 0.0001) expression were significantly decreased in the sarcomatous component compared to the carcinomatous component. Androgen receptor expression was low overall (0 versus 2.8, p = 0.04). We hypothesize that GR-high, ER/PR-low expression is associated with epithelial to mesenchymal transition in the sarcomatous cells and may serve as a potential therapeutic target.

Keywords: Carcinosarcoma; Estrogen receptor; Glucocorticoid receptor; Progesterone receptor.