Prevalence and prognostic significance of neuroendocrine cells in esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Hamilton K, Chiappori A, Olson S, Sawyers J, Johnson D, Washington K
Mod Pathol. 2000 13 (5): 475-81

PMID: 10824917 · DOI:10.1038/modpathol.3880081

Neuroendocrine differentiation is common in adenocarcinomas of the stomach and colon and may be associated with a slightly better prognosis in gastric adenocarcinoma. We studied neuroendocrine differentiation in esophageal adenocarcinomas and associated Barrett's esophagus (BE) to determine association with patient outcome. Fifty-eight cases of esophageal adenocarcinoma (15 biopsies, 43 resections) from 52 patients were stained with a monoclonal antibody to chromogranin (CG). Medical records were reviewed for tumor stage, response to therapy, and patient survival. Thirty-two patients received radiation and chemotherapy, and four received radiation. Twelve of 58 (20.7%) esophageal adenocarcinomas contained scattered CG-positive cells. Tumors with CG-positive cells were moderately to poorly differentiated, and many consisted of large cribriform glands, similar to intestinal-type adenocarcinomas. One case of small cell carcinoma of the esophagus was weakly CG positive; another was negative. Neuroendocrine differentiation was retained in lymph node metastases in two cases but lost in three other cases. In 10 CG-negative primary tumors, lymph node metastases were also negative. For five of six patients with paired biopsy/resection specimens, no CG-positive cells were seen in either specimen; one patient had CG-positive cells only in the resection. There was no difference in tumor stage at surgery or survival time between CG-positive and CG-negative tumors. BE was present in 34 cases and contained CG-positive cells in 21 of 34 (61.8%). Low-grade dysplasia contained CG-positive cells in 11 of 14 cases (78.6%) and high-grade dysplasia in 3 of 6 cases. Fourteen of 21 (66.7%) adenocarcinomas associated with CG-positive BE were negative for CG. In summary, neuroendocrine differentiation is common in BE and is retained in low- and high-grade dysplasia but is usually lost in esophageal adenocarcinoma. The presence of scattered neuroendocrine cells does not affect patient outcome.

MeSH Terms (14)

Adenocarcinoma Barrett Esophagus Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine Cell Differentiation Chromogranins Esophageal Neoplasms Humans Immunohistochemistry Neoplasm Staging Neurosecretory Systems Prevalence Prognosis Survival Analysis Tennessee

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