The oncofetal protein IMP3: A novel biomarker and triage tool for premalignant atypical endometriotic lesions

Paolo Vercellini, Fulvia Milena Cribiù, Alessandro Del Gobbo, Maria Luisa Carcangiu, Edgardo Somigliana, Silvano Bòsari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine whether the oncofetal protein IMP3 is detectable in endometriomas with or without histological atypia and whether IMP3 staining can be used as a triage tool to identify foci of atypical endometriosis in doubtful cases. Design: Retrospective study. Setting: Academic department and referral center for endometriosis. Patient(s): A consecutive series of 516 women who underwent excision of 874 endometriomas. Intervention(s): Histological review by three expert pathologists and immunohistochemical staining for IMP3. Main Outcome Measure(s): Test performance of IMP3 immunohistochemistry versus first-round histology. Result(s): The prevalence of atypical endometriosis was 1.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.9%-3.3%) based on the number of women and 1.0% (95% CI, 0.5%-1.9%) based on the number of cysts. Three cases of atypical endometriosis were identified at first-round histological examination. Immunohistochemistry detected seven of the eight cases diagnosed as preneoplastic atypia at second-round histology and one case diagnosed as reactive atypia at second-round histology. The sensitivity of first-round histology was 33.3%, compared with 88.9% of IMP3 immunohistochemistry. Conclusion(s): Immunohistochemical staining for IMP3 expression is a simple, inexpensive, and sensitive test that can be used in routine clinical practice as a triage tool to discriminate between cytological/structural atypia and confounding benign conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1974-1979
Number of pages6
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • atypical endometriosis
  • endometrioma
  • Endometriosis
  • IMP3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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