Transcription factor GATA-6 is expressed in malignant endoderm of pediatric yolk sac tumors and in teratomas

Susanna Siltanen, Päivi Heikkilä, Malgorzata Bielinska, David B. Wilson, Markku Heikinheimo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Transcription factors GATA-4 and GATA-6 play critical roles in mammalian yolk sac differentiation and function. Previously, we showed that GATA-4 is a potential marker for malignant yolk sac endoderm in pediatric germ cell tumors. This highly malignant tissue can cause diagnostic problems because yolk sac components may be difficult to differentiate from other, especially immature, tissue types in teratomas. In the search for new molecular markers for germ cell tumors, we have surveyed GATA-6 expression in benign and malignant pediatric germ cell tumors using mRNA in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. GATA-6 was expressed in most yolk sac tumors examined and also in nonmalignant tissues including gut/respiratory epithelium, sebocytes, and neuroepithelium in mature and immature teratomas. Given that GATA-6 has not been discovered in sebocytes before, this finding was confirmed by immunohistochemistry of normal mouse samples, indicating a function for this transcription factor in the mammalian skin. Taken together, GATA-6 can be used to identify yolk sac components in pediatric germ cell tumors. Furthermore, it is also expressed in specific tissues in teratomas. GATA-6, together with GATA-4, can thus be used as a novel molecular marker in characterizing of pediatric germ cell tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-546
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


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