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Immunohistochemistry of ovarian granulosa cell tumours

The value of tissue specific proteins and tumour markers


Paraffin-embedded material of 47 ovarian tumours primarily diagnosed as granulosa cell tumours, including 2 cases of juvenile granulosa cell tumour, were studied immunohistochemically for the presence of intermediate filament proteins, epithelial membrane antigen and tumour markers. Forty-one lesions, including the 2 juvenile granulosa cell tumours, were vimentin positive, while keratin and epithelial membrane antigen expression could not be detected. Six tumours primarily diagnosed as poorly differentiated malignant granulosa cell tumours were vimentin negative, showed a mild to moderate positivity for keratin and intense positivity with the anti-epithelial membrane antigen antibody. These latter tumours were therefore classified as undifferentiated ovarian carcinomas, corresponding to their significantly poorer prognosis and shorter survival when compared with the granulosa cell tumours. Two of these six tumours were positive for carcino-embryonic antigen. Two small cell carcinomas of the ovary studied in addition expressed keratin in a proportion of tumour cells while no epithelial membrane antigen or vimentin was detectable. None of the tumours tested for alpha-fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotrophin, human placental alkaline phosphatase and human placental lactogen, were positive.

The data indicate the value of antibodies directed against intermediate filament proteins and epithelial membrane antigen to distinguish granulosa cell tumours from poorly differentiated carcinomas, a worthwhile distinction considering the much better prognosis of granulosa cell tumours.

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Correspondence to S. Chadha.

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Chadha, S., van der Kwast, T.H. Immunohistochemistry of ovarian granulosa cell tumours. Vichows Archiv A Pathol Anat 414, 439–445 (1989).

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Key words

  • Granulosa cell tumour
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intermediate filament proteins
  • Tumour markers
  • Ovarian carcinoma