Background: Lobular endocervical glandular hyperplasia (LEGH) is a rare lesion of the uterine cervix. It has been proposed that LEGH may represent a precursor lesion to a group of mucinous adenocarcinoma with gastric phenotype (GA) that is independent of high-risk human papillomavirus (H-HPV) infection. Carbonic anhydrase-IX (CA-IX) is highly expressed in conventional glandular lesions (CGLs). However, expression of CA-IX in LEGH or GA has not been studied. Methods: In all, 12 CGLs, 7 LEGHs, 6 LEGHs with coexisting adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS, 3) and GA (3) were identified from Japanese women with a cytological diagnosis of atypical glandular cells of undetermined significance. Immunostaining was used to detect CA-IX and p16 INK 4 a (hereafter termed p16) protein expression in the tissues and CA-IX protein expression in the Papanicolaou smears (PSs). Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect H-HPV DNA in liquid-based cytology. Results: Out of 12 (83%) CGLs, 10 were positive with H-HPV and high levels of CA-IX expression were seen in all (100%) cases. P16 protein expression was observed in 11 out of 12 (92%) cases. None of the LEGHs, LEGHs with AIS or GA were positive for H-HPV and only 8 out of 13 (62%) showed focal weak (1+) p16 expression. In contrast, all cases (100%) exhibited strong CA-IX protein expression. Conclusion: Our study suggests that there are different molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis resulting in CGLs vs LEGHs associated with AIS or GA. There is also a possible link between LEGHs and GAs. Furthermore, CA-IX expression may serve as a useful biomarker for the detection of GAs in the absence of H-HPV infection.
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