Intermediate filamentous proteins in adult granulosa cell tumors: An immunohistochemical study of 25 cases

C. N. Otis, J. L. Powell, D. Barbuto, M. L. Carcangiu

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Adult granulosa cell tumors (AGCTs) are classified as sex cord-stromal tumors of the ovary. However, they may be confused with other primary ovarian neoplasms. Intermediate filaments, specifically vimentin and cytokeratins, have been identified in AGCTs by immunohistochemistry performed on frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue and two-dimensional electrophoresis. Recently, however, immunohistochemical demonstration of cytokeratin has been used as supporting evidence of epithelial rather than sex cord-stromal differentiation in ovarian neoplasia. To investigate further intermediate filamentous proteins in AGCTs, 25 such tumors were studied by immunohistochemistry in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections. Cytoplasmic staining was observed, frequently in a distinct punctate, paranuclear pattern, in 14 of 25, 14 of 25, and seven of 17 tumors using monoclonal antibodies AE1/AE3, CAM 5.2, and 35BH11, respectively, which share the ability to detect low molecular weight cytokeratins. Staining for cytokeratin was not seen in any of the 17 tumors studied using the antibody 34BE12. Twenty-three of 25 tumors showed strong positivity for vimentin, characteristically seen as globoid paranuclear staining. Nine of 25 tumors contained desmin, which was restricted to the intermixed spindle cell, cortical type stromal component of the tumors. These patterns of immunoreactivity for intermediate filaments, particularly cytokeratins, are different than in common epithelial tumors of the ovary and may be useful in the differential diagnosis of ovarian neoplasia. Moreover, the immunohistochemical detection of cytokeratins should not be used as a criterion for excluding AGCT from the differential diagnosis of an ovarian neoplasm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-968
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Adult granulosa cell tumor
  • Intermediate filaments
  • Ovary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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