BACKGROUND: Gynecological neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are extremely rare, accounting for 1.2-2.4% of the NENs. The aim of this study was to test cervical NENs for novel markers of potential utility for differential diagnosis and target therapy. METHODS: All cases of our center (n = 16) were retrieved and tested by immunohistochemistry (IHC) for 12 markers including markers of neuroendocrine differentiation (chromogranin A, synaptophysin, CD56), transcription factors (CDX2 and TTF1), proteins p40, p63, p16INK4a, and p53, somatostatin receptors subtypes (SST2-SST5) and the proliferation marker Ki67 (MIB1). RESULTS: All cases were poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs), 10 small cell types (small cell-neuroendocrine carcinomas, SCNECs) and 6 large cell types (large cell-neuroendocrine carcinomas, LCNECs); in 3 cases a predominant associated adenocarcinoma component was observed. Neuroendocrine cancer cells expressed at least 2 of the 3 tested neuroendocrine markers; p16 was intensely expressed in 14 (87.5%) cases; SST5 in 11 (56.25%, score 2-3, in 9 cases); SST2 in 8 (50%, score 2-3 in 8), CDX2 in 8 (50%), TTF1 in 5 (31.25%), and p53 in 1 case (0.06%). P63 and p40 expressions were negative, with the exception of one case that showed moderate expression for p63. CONCLUSIONS: P40 is a more useful marker for the differential diagnosis compared to squamous cell carcinoma. Neither CDX2 nor TTF1 expression may help the differential diagnosis versus potential cervical metastasis. P16 expression may suggest a cervical origin of NEC; however, it must be always integrated by clinical and instrumental data. The expression of SST2 and SST5 could support a role for SSAs (Somatostatin Analogues) in the diagnosis and therapy of patients with cervical NECs.
- cervical cancer
- gynecologic neuroendocrine neoplasms
- somatostatin receptors