Application of clonal analysis. Differential diagnosis for synchronous primary ovarian and endometrial cancers and metastatic cancer

Am J Clin Pathol. 1996 Mar;105(3):350-9. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/105.3.350.


Simultaneous involvement of the endometrium and the ovary by carcinoma is a familiar problem in the routine practice of surgical pathology. Such cases may be considered either examples of a single primary carcinoma with metastasis or as synchronous primary neoplasms. The distinction between these two possibilities is made based on clinicopathologic observations, and therefore may not be definitive. In the present study, the authors used molecular techniques to analyze the clonal composition of five cases of concurrent adenocarcinomas of the endometrium and ovary that were clinicopathologically diagnosed as synchronous primary tumors. Patterns of X-chromosome inactivation, mutations in the K-ras gene, mutations or allelic loss of the p53 gene, or human papillomavirus detection were identical in both endometrial and ovarian lesions in three of the cases suggesting that those three cases represented single primary tumors with metastases. In both of the other two cases, the patterns of X-chromosome inactivation clearly demonstrated the presence of independent primary tumors. The application of molecular technology may play an important role for the differential diagnosis between synchronous primary carcinomas and a single carcinoma with metastasis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / secondary
  • Clone Cells
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Papillary / secondary
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Genes, p53
  • Genes, ras
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length