TP53 mutations are rarely identified in low grade endometrioid carcinoma of the endometrium, and their pathogenic significance in such tumors is evidenced by the fact that TP53 aberrations have been associated with reduced recurrence-free survival in this subset of tumors. However, TP53 aberrations may not always represent a driving molecular event in a given endometrial cancer with a mutation. In this case study, the immunophenotype of a distinctive low grade endometrioid adenocarcinoma with an unusual pattern of lymph node metastases is used to explore the possible roles for underlying TP53-related molecular events in its pathogenesis.
A low grade endometrioid carcinoma, 9 cm in greatest dimension, with 35% invasion of the myometrial wall thickness, focal lymphovascular invasion, and metastases to 2 of 16 pelvic lymph nodes, was diagnosed in a 52-year-old woman. The endometrial tumor showed a p53-mutation (aberrant)-type immunohistochemical pattern in 40% of the tumor, but the rest of the tumor, as well as the foci of myometrial and lymphovascular invasion, were p53-wild type. Both lymph nodes with metastatic disease showed a distinct biphasic pattern, comprised of both p53-wild type and p53-aberrant areas in tumoral foci that were spatially apposed but not intermixed. Most p53-aberrant areas (at both the lymph nodes and the endometrium) showed a higher mitotic index and increased atypia as compared to the p53-wild type areas; both showed squamous differentiation. The p53-aberrant areas at both locations were also p16-diffusely positive, vimentin-positive, and estrogen/progesterone receptor-positive, whereas the p53-wild type areas showed an identical immunophenotype with the exception of being p16-mosaic positive. All components of the tumor at both the primary and metastatic sites showed loss of MSH2 and MSH6 and retained MLH/PMS2 expression.
The presence of p53-mutant and wild-type areas in multiple lymph nodes, coupled with the absence of a p53-aberrant immunophenotype in the myometrium-invasive or lymphovascular-invasive portions of the tumor, argues against the possibility that the TP53 mutation in this tumor is a driving event in its pathogenesis, at least regarding the metastatic process. This case illustrates how routine immunohistochemistry can provide important insights into underlying molecular events in cancers, exemplifies an uncommon co-existence of DNA mismatch repair protein deficiency and p53-aberrant immunophenotype in low-grade endometrioid carcinoma, illustrates morphologic differences between p53-aberrant and p53-wild type areas within in the same tumor, and is an exemplar of the emerging theory that lymph node metastases of endometrial cancer may be comprised of different subclones of the primary tumor.
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- p53 aberrations in low grade endometrioid carcinoma of the endometrium with nodal metastases: possible insights on pathogenesis discerned from immunohistochemistry
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