Molecular genetic evidence for the conversion hypothesis of the origin of malignant mixed müllerian tumours

J Pathol. 1997 Dec;183(4):424-31. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9896(199712)183:4<424::AID-PATH949>3.0.CO;2-L.


The origin of malignant mixed Müllerian tumours (MMMTs) has long been debated, due to the indefinite relationship between epithelial and mesenchymal malignant cells. In order to obtain insight into the clonal relationship between the two components of these tumours, molecular genetic changes were investigated at the level of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in both cells types. LOH was studied in a series of six cases with 74 polymorphic microsatellite markers mapping to 19 different chromosomes. The epithelial and the mesenchymal neoplastic cells were separately microdissected from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue, prior to DNA isolation. LOH was observed for 35 different markers mapping to chromosomes 3, 6, 8, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, and X. The most frequently involved chromosomes were 17p, 17q, 11q, 15q, and 21q. LOH was observed in five out of six cases and identical alleles were lost in the epithelial and in the mesenchymal cells. No genetic differences were observed between the two cell types for any of the informative markers. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) and TP53 mutation analysis revealed involvement of TP53 in all cases. Mutations were identified in five MMMTs. In four tumours, of which three had a missense mutation, strong nuclear staining for p53 was observed. In the remaining two cases, the mutation resulted in a stop codon, with no nuclear staining for p53 by IHC. The results support a monoclonal origin of MMMTs, with the absence of genetic changes uniquely associated with either of the phenotypes. The latter finding is compatible with current opinion that these neoplasms should be considered as metaplastic carcinomas and supports the conversion hypothesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chromosome Deletion*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Genes, p53
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Tumor, Mullerian / genetics*
  • Mixed Tumor, Mullerian / metabolism
  • Mixed Tumor, Mullerian / pathology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53