Reasearch Awards nomination

Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Journal of Hematology & Oncology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research

PAX8: a sensitive and specific marker to identify cancer cells of ovarian origin for patients prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy

Yue Wang12, Yiying Wang12, Jie Li23, Zeng Yuan23, Bingbing Yuan4, Tingguo Zhang5, Janiel M Cragun6, Beihua Kong7 and Wenxin Zheng2367*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Henan Province People’s Hospital, Zhengzhou, Henan 450003, China

2 Department of Pathology, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA

3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Ji’nan, Shandong 250012, China

4 Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA

5 Department of Pathology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Ji’nan, Shandong 250012, China

6 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, 1501 N. Campbell Avenue, #5205, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA

7 Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2013, 6:60  doi:10.1186/1756-8722-6-60

Published: 19 August 2013

Abstract

Background

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by cytoreduction surgery has been used where an accurate cytologic or pathologic diagnosis is usually required before the initiation of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. However, it is difficult to make definitive diagnosis of presence of cancer cells, particularly gynecologic versus non-gynecologic origin, from those ascites specimens due to the absence of specific biomarkers of gynecologic cancers. In the present study, we evaluated if, in addition to the routine morphologic diagnosis, the biomarker PAX8 could be useful in recognition of ovarian epithelial cancer cells prior to the neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Methods

Two hundred and two cytology specimens including 120 pretreatment ovarian cancer samples, 60 benign controls, and 22 malignant non-gynecologic cases were studied. All cytology slides were morphologically reviewed in a blinded fashion without knowing corresponding pathology diagnosis, if present. A total of 168 cytology specimens with a cell block were stained with PAX8 and Calretinin. These included patients with potential for ovarian cancer neoadjuvant chemotherapy (n = 96), metastatic cancers (n = 22), and benign controls (n = 50).

Results

Among the 96 ascitic samples prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, 76 (79%) showing morphologic features consistent with cancers of ovarian primary were all PAX+/Calretinin-. The remaining 20 (21%) cases were positive for adenocarcinoma, but morphologically unable to be further classified. Among the 22 metastatic cancers into the pelvis, one case with PAX8+/Calretinin- represented a renal cell carcinoma and the remaining 21 PAX8-/Calretinin- metastatic cancers were either breast metastasis (n = 4) and the metastasis from gastrointestinal tract (n = 17). Among the 50 benign control pelvic washing cases, 5 PAX8+/Calretinin-cases represented endosalpingiosis (n = 4) and endometriosis (n = 1), 25 PAX8-/Calretinin + cases showed reactive mesothelial cells, and the remaining 20 specimens with PAX8-/Calretinin- phenotype typically contained inflammatory or blood cells without noticeable diagnostic epithelia.

Conclusions

PAX8 identifies all Müllerian derived benign or malignant epithelia. When combining with Calretinin, PAX8 is a sensitive marker to diagnose the carcinomas of ovarian origin, which will be ideal to be used for those patients with a possible advanced ovarian cancer prior to receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Keywords:
PAX8; Ascitic fluid; Ovarian cancer; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Origin; Marker