Carcinosarcomas (malignant mixed mullerian tumors) of the female genital tract: comparative molecular analysis of epithelial and mesenchymal components

Hum Pathol. 1998 Jan;29(1):82-7. doi: 10.1016/s0046-8177(98)90394-x.


Female genital tract carcinosarcomas (FGTCS) are biphasic neoplasms composed of an admixture of malignant epithelial and mesenchymal elements. Histogenesis of FGTCS centers on two theories: (1) simultaneous formation of independent tumors (biclonal theory), (2) multidirectional differentiation of a single neoplasm (monoclonal theory). In an attempt to resolve this histogenetic controversy, we determined the presence, specific genotype, and timing of p53 mutational change in each component of FGTCS using a topographic genotyping (TG) approach. We selected 43 FGTCS from the files of Magee-Womens Hospital, Pittsburgh, and initially immunostained them for p53 protein. Strong p53 immunopositivity was detected in 35 (82%) of 43 tumors. Subsequently, topographic genotyping (TG) was performed on a subset of nine immunopositive tumors with sufficiently distinct malignant components to enable effective sampling. All nine tumors showed point mutations in p53 exons 5 through 8. In each case, the identical point mutational genotype was present in both components. Furthermore, in all nine cases mutations were present with loss of the wild-type allele. P53 gene mutation is a frequent event in progression of FGTCS. Of importance, both p53 mutation and allelic loss occur before the differentiation into separate epithelial and mesenchymal malignant components. These molecular findings strongly support monoclonal, multidirectional histogenesis of FGTCS.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Genes, p53 / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Mesoderm / pathology
  • Mixed Tumor, Mullerian / metabolism
  • Mixed Tumor, Mullerian / pathology*
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Uterine Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53