Mammaglobin expression in gynecologic adenocarcinomas

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Mammaglobin (MGB) has been proposed as a sensitive and specific immunohistochemical marker for adenocarcinoma of the breast. The differential diagnosis of breast adenocarcinoma versus a gynecologic primary frequently arises. We performed a semiquantitative survey of MGB immunoreactivity in 26 benign gynecologic tissues (6 ectocervices, 9 endocervices, 11 endometria), 86 ovarian adenocarcinomas, 70 endometrial adenocarcinomas, and 10 endocervical adenocarcinomas. Among ovarian tumors, MGB was present in 40% of endometrioid carcinomas; 36%, serous carcinomas; 21%, clear cell carcinomas; and 6%, mucinous carcinomas. Among endometrial cancers, MGB reactivity was present in 57% of endometrioid carcinomas, but only 30% of serous carcinomas and 6% of clear cell carcinomas. MGB was absent in endocervical adenocarcinomas. Across all tumor types with positive staining, MGB was focal or patchy (ie, less than diffuse) in 50 of 57 cases. Using a scale of 0 to 3+, the only 3 tumors with 3+ MGB reactivity were all serous carcinomas (1 ovarian and 2 endometrial). There were no cases with diffuse 3+ MGB expression. On the other hand, diffuse 2+ MGB was seen in 4 cases: 1 endometrioid carcinoma of ovary, 1 serous carcinoma of ovary, and 2 clear cell carcinomas of ovary. In conclusion, a diagnostically significant proportion of gynecologic carcinomas are immunoreactive for MGB. Gynecologic primaries should be considered in the differential diagnosis of MGB-positive malignancies of unknown origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-635
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


  • Endometrioid adenocarcinoma
  • Gynecologic neoplasms
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mammaglobin


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