Publications by authors named "Jutta Huvila"

23 Publications

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Molecular subclassification of vulvar squamous cell carcinoma: reproducibility and prognostic significance of a novel surgical technique.

Int J Gynecol Cancer 2022 Aug 1;32(8):977-985. Epub 2022 Aug 1.

Division of Gynecologic Pathology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Objectives: Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma is subclassified into three prognostically relevant groups: (i) human papillomavirus (HPV) associated, (ii) HPV independent p53 abnormal (mutant pattern), and (iii) HPV independent p53 wild type. Immunohistochemistry for p16 and p53 serve as surrogates for HPV viral integration and mutational status. We assessed the reproducibility of the subclassification based on p16 and p53 immunohistochemistry and evaluated the prognostic significance of vulvar squamous cell carcinoma molecular subgroups in a patient cohort treated by vulvar field resection surgery.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, 68 cases treated by vulvar field resection were identified from the Leipzig School of Radical Pelvic Surgery. Immunohistochemistry for p16 and p53 was performed at three different institutions and evaluated independently by seven pathologists and two trainees. Tumors were classified into one of four groups: HPV associated, HPV independent p53 wild type, HPV independent p53 abnormal, and indeterminate. Selected cases were further interrogated by (HPV RNA in situ hybridization, sequencing).

Results: Final subclassification yielded 22 (32.4%) HPV associated, 41 (60.3%) HPV independent p53 abnormal, and 5 (7.3%) HPV independent p53 wild type tumors. Interobserver agreement (overall Fleiss' kappa statistic) for the four category classification was 0.74. No statistically significant differences in clinical outcomes between HPV associated and HPV independent vulvar squamous cell carcinoma were observed.

Conclusion: Interobserver reproducibility of vulvar squamous cell carcinoma subclassification based on p16 and p53 immunohistochemistry may support routine use in clinical practice. Vulvar field resection surgery showed no significant difference in clinical outcomes when stratified based on HPV status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ijgc-2021-003251DOI Listing
August 2022

Endometrial carcinoma molecular subtype correlates with the presence of lymph node metastases.

Gynecol Oncol 2022 05 2;165(2):376-384. Epub 2022 Mar 2.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: The role of lymph node assessment/dissection (LND) in endometrial cancer (EC) has been debated for decades, with significant practice variation between centers. Molecular classification of EC provides prognostic information and can be accurately performed on preoperative endometrial biopsies. We assessed the association between molecular subtype and lymph node metastases (LNM) in order to determine if this tool could be used to stratify surgical decision making.

Methods: All EC patients undergoing primary staging surgery with planned complete pelvic +/- para-aortic LND from a single institution in the 2015 calendar year were identified, with clinicopathological and outcome data assessed in the context of retrospectively assigned molecular classification.

Results: 172 patients were included. Molecular classification of the total cohort showed 21 POLEmut (12.2%), 47 MMRd (27.3%), 74 NSMP (43.1%), and 30 p53abn (17.4%) ECs. Complete pelvic +/- para-aortic LND was performed in 171 of 172 patients, and LNM were found in 31/171 (18.1%). This included macrometastases (19/31), micrometastases (5/31), and isolated tumour cells (ITCs) (7/31). LNM were pelvic only in 83.9%, and pelvic plus para-aortic in 16.1%. There were no isolated para-aortic LNM. Molecular subtype was significantly associated with LNM (p = 0.004). There was a strong association between the presence of LNM and p53abn EC (nodal involvement in 44.8% of cases), with LNM detected in 14.2% of POLEmut, 14.9% of MMRd, and 10.8% of NSMP EC. On multivariate analysis, molecular subtype and preoperative CA 125 > 25 were significantly associated with LNM (p = 0.021 and p = 0.022 respectively) but preoperative grade and histotype were not (p = 0.24).

Conclusion: EC molecular subtype is significantly associated with the presence of LNM. As molecular classification can be obtained on preoperative diagnostic specimens, this information can be used to guide surgical treatment planning and may reduce the cost and morbidity of unnecessary lymph node staging in EC care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2022.01.025DOI Listing
May 2022

Variation in practice in endometrial cancer and potential for improved care and equity through molecular classification.

Gynecol Oncol 2022 05 1;165(2):201-214. Epub 2022 Mar 1.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Electronic address:

Objectives: We measured the variation in practice across all aspects of endometrial cancer (EC) management and assessed the potential impact of implementation of molecular classification.

Methods: Centers from across Canada provided representative tumor samples and clinical data, including preoperative workup, operative management, hereditary cancer program (HCP) referrals, adjuvant therapy, surveillance and outcomes, for all EC patients diagnosed in 2016. Tumors were classified into the four ProMisE molecular subtypes.

Results: A total of 1336 fully evaluable EC patients were identified from 10 tertiary cancer centers (TC; n = 1022) and 19 community centers (CC; n = 314). Variation of surgical practice across TCs was profound (14-100%) for lymphadenectomy (LND) (mean 57% Gr1/2, 82% Gr3) and omental sampling (20% Gr1/2, 79% Gr3). Preoperative CT scans were inconsistently obtained (mean 32% Gr1/2, 51% Gr3) and use of adjuvant chemo or chemoRT in high risk EC ranged from 0-55% and 64-100%, respectively. Molecular subtyping was performed retrospectively and identified 6% POLEmut, 28% MMRd, 48% NSMP and 18% p53abn ECs, and was significantly associated with survival. Within patients retrospectively diagnosed with MMRd EC only 22% had been referred to HCP. Of patients with p53abn EC, LND and omental sampling was not performed in 21% and 23% respectively, and 41% received no chemotherapy. Comparison of management in 2016 with current 2020 ESGO/ESTRO/ESP guidelines identified at least 26 and 95 patients that would have been directed to less or more adjuvant therapy, respectively (10% of cohort).

Conclusion: Molecular classification has the potential to mitigate the profound variation in practice demonstrated in current EC care, enabling reproducible risk assessment, guiding treatment and reducing health care disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2022.02.001DOI Listing
May 2022

Combined expression of HOXA11 and CD10 identifies endometriosis versus normal tissue and tumors.

Ann Diagn Pathol 2022 Feb 23;56:151870. Epub 2021 Nov 23.

Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Rudbeck Laboratory, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 20, SE-75185 Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address:

The gold standard for diagnosing endometriosis is by laparoscopic visual demonstration of ectopic endometrial lesions outside the uterus, preferably verified by biopsy and microscopical examination. Molecular markers to facilitate the microscopical diagnosis of endometriosis and for distinguishing endometriosis from other benign and malignant lesions are lacking. Our aim was to test and validate an immunohistochemical antibody panel for improved diagnostic accuracy of endometriosis. Both CD10 and HOXA11 have been implicated in regulation of endometrial homeostasis. Here we have analyzed the expression pattern of these two proteins using immunohistochemistry on human tissues in a tissue microarray format. CD10 and HOXA11 expression in endometriosis lesions were compared to expression patterns in a range of normal tissues and in primary- and metastatic lesions of endometrial-, cervical- and ovarian cancer. HOXA11 and CD10 were expressed in 98% and 91% of endometriosis lesions and the combined double-positive expression profile of both HOXA11 and CD10 was highly sensitive for ectopic endometrial tissue (90%). The specificity and sensitivity for this double-positive signature in endometriosis was significantly different from all investigated tissues, cancers and metastases except normal, eutopic endometrial- and cervical mucosa. The combination of HOXA11 and CD10 expression profiles provides a useful tool to identify ectopic endometrial tissue and for distinguishing endometriosis from various types of gynecological malignancies and metastases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2021.151870DOI Listing
February 2022

STING pathway expression in low-grade serous carcinoma of the ovary: an unexpected therapeutic opportunity?

J Pathol Clin Res 2021 11 17;7(6):548-555. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

Department of Molecular Oncology, BC Cancer Research Center, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Ovarian carcinoma histotypes are distinct diseases with variable clinical outcomes and response to treatment. There is a need for new subtype-specific treatment modalities, especially for women with widespread and chemo-resistant disease. Stimulator of interferon genes (STING) is a part of the cGAS-STING pathway that mediates innate immune defence against infectious DNA-containing pathogens and also detects tumour-derived DNA and generates intrinsic antitumour immunity. The STING signalling pathway is suppressed by several mechanisms in a variety of malignant diseases and, in some cancers that may be a requirement for cellular transformation. The aim of this study was to use immunohistochemistry to evaluate STING protein expression across normal tissue, paratubal and ovarian cysts, and ovarian tumour histotypes including ovarian carcinomas. Herein, we show that the fallopian tube ciliated cells express STING protein, whereas the secretory cells are negative. STING expression differs among ovarian cancer histotypes; low-grade serous ovarian carcinomas and serous borderline tumours have uniform high STING expression, while high-grade serous and endometrioid carcinomas have heterogeneous expression, and clear cell and mucinous carcinomas show low expression. As low-grade serous carcinomas are known to be genomically stable and typically lack a prominent host immune response, the consistently high STING expression is unexpected. High STING expression may reflect pathway activation or histogenesis and the mechanisms may be different in different ovarian carcinoma histotypes. Further studies are needed to determine whether the STING signalling pathway is active and whether these tumours would be candidates for therapeutic interventions that trigger innate immunity activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cjp2.230DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8503889PMC
November 2021

The prognostic impact of the tumour stroma fraction: A machine learning-based analysis in 16 human solid tumour types.

EBioMedicine 2021 Mar 9;65:103269. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Diagnostic Radiology, Department of Translational Medicine, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.

Background: The development of a reactive tumour stroma is a hallmark of tumour progression and pronounced tumour stroma is generally considered to be associated with clinical aggressiveness. The variability between tumour types regarding stroma fraction, and its prognosis associations, have not been systematically analysed.

Methods: Using an objective machine-learning method we quantified the tumour stroma in 16 solid cancer types from 2732 patients, representing retrospective tissue collections of surgically resected primary tumours. Image analysis performed tissue segmentation into stromal and epithelial compartment based on pan-cytokeratin staining and autofluorescence patterns.

Findings: The stroma fraction was highly variable within and across the tumour types, with kidney cancer showing the lowest and pancreato-biliary type periampullary cancer showing the highest stroma proportion (median 19% and 73% respectively). Adjusted Cox regression models revealed both positive (pancreato-biliary type periampullary cancer and oestrogen negative breast cancer, HR(95%CI)=0.56(0.34-0.92) and HR(95%CI)=0.41(0.17-0.98) respectively) and negative (intestinal type periampullary cancer, HR(95%CI)=3.59(1.49-8.62)) associations of the tumour stroma fraction with survival.

Interpretation: Our study provides an objective quantification of the tumour stroma fraction across major types of solid cancer. Findings strongly argue against the commonly promoted view of a general associations between high stroma abundance and poor prognosis. The results also suggest that full exploitation of the prognostic potential of tumour stroma requires analyses that go beyond determination of stroma abundance.

Funding: The Swedish Cancer Society, The Lions Cancer Foundation Uppsala, The Swedish Government Grant for Clinical Research, The Mrs Berta Kamprad Foundation, Sweden, Sellanders foundation, P.O.Zetterling Foundation, and The Sjöberg Foundation, Sweden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103269DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7960932PMC
March 2021

Molecular subtype diagnosis of endometrial carcinoma: comparison of the next-generation sequencing panel and Proactive Molecular Risk Classifier for Endometrial Cancer classifier.

Hum Pathol 2021 05 2;111:98-109. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, 20520, Turku, Finland.

The Cancer Genome Atlas-based molecular classification of endometrial carcinoma (EC) has the potential to better identify those patients whose disease is likely to behave differently than predicted when using traditional risk stratification; however, the optimal approach to molecular subtype assignment in routine practice remains undetermined. The aim of this study was to compare the results of two different widely available approaches to diagnosis the EC molecular subtype. EC specimens from 60 patients were molecularly subclassified using two different methods, by using the FoundationOne CDx next-generation sequencing (NGS) panel and using the Proactive Molecular Risk Classifier for Endometrial Cancer (ProMisE) classifier and performing immunostaining for mismatch repair proteins and p53. POLE mutation status was derived from FoundationOne results in both settings. Molecular classification based on ProMisE was successful for all 60 tumors. Microsatellite instability status could be determined based on the NGS panel results in 53 of 60 tumors, so ProMisE and NGS molecular subtype assignment could be directly compared for these 53 tumors. Molecular subtype diagnosis based on NGS and ProMisE was in agreement for 52 of 53 tumors. One tumor was microsatellite stable but showed loss of MLH1 and PMS2 expression. Molecular subtype diagnosis of EC based on the NGS panel of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded ECs and based primarily on immunostaining (ProMisE) yields identical results in 98.1% (52/53, kappa = 0.97) of cases. Although results obtained using these two approaches are comparable, each has advantages and disadvantages that will influence the choice of the method to be used in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.humpath.2021.02.006DOI Listing
May 2021

p53abn Endometrial Cancer: understanding the most aggressive endometrial cancers in the era of molecular classification.

Int J Gynecol Cancer 2021 06 15;31(6):907-913. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Over the past decade, our understanding of endometrial cancer has changed dramatically from the two-tiered clinicopathologic classification system of type I and type II endometrial cancer through to the four distinct molecular subtypes identified by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) in 2013. In both systems there is a small subset of endometrial cancers (serous histotype/high numbers of somatic copy number abnormalities) that account for a disproportionately high percentage of endometrial cancer related deaths. This subset can be identified in routine clinical practice by first identifying the approximately one-third of endometrial cancers that are either ultramutated/mut tumors, with pathogenic mutations in the exonuclease domain of , or hypermutated/MMRd tumors, with loss of DNA mismatch repair. Immunostaining for p53 stratifies the remaining endometrial cancers into those with wild-type staining pattern and those with mutant pattern staining (p53abn endometrial cancer). This latter group of p53abn endometrial cancer is the subject of this review. Most p53abn endometrial cancers are serous type and high grade, but it also includes other histotypes and lower grade tumors, and has consistently been associated with the poorest clinical outcomes. Although it only accounts for 15% of all endometrial cancer cases, it is responsible for 50-70% of endometrial cancer mortality. A better understanding of the molecular alterations in the p53abn subgroup, beyond the ubiquitous and definitional mutations, is required so we can identify better treatments for these most aggressive endometrial cancers. Recent evidence has shown improved survival outcomes with the addition of chemotherapy compared with radiation alone in p53abn endometrial cancers. Opportunities for targeted therapy for p53abn endometrial cancers also exist with a proportion of p53abn endometrial cancers known to have homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) or human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) overexpression/amplification. This review will provide an overview of our current understanding of p53abn endometrial cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ijgc-2020-002256DOI Listing
June 2021

Online Training and Self-assessment in the Histopathologic Classification of Endocervical Adenocarcinoma and Diagnosis of Pattern of Invasion: Evaluation of Participant Performance.

Int J Gynecol Pathol 2021 Mar;40(Suppl 1):S14-S23

Histopathologic classification of endocervical adenocarcinomas (EAC) has recently changed, with the new system based on human papillomavirus (HPV)-related morphologic features being incorporated into the 5th edition of the WHO Blue Book (Classification of Tumours of the Female Genital Tract). There has also been the introduction of a pattern-based classification system to assess invasion in HPV-associated (HPVA) endocervical adenocarcinomas that stratifies tumors into 3 groups with different prognoses. To facilitate the introduction of these changes into routine clinical practice, websites with training sets and test sets of scanned whole slide images were designed to improve diagnostic performance in histotype classification of endocervical adenocarcinoma based on the International Endocervical Adenocarcinoma Criteria and Classification (IECC) and assessment of Silva pattern of invasion in HPVA endocervical adenocarcinomas. We report on the diagnostic results of those who have participated thus far in these educational websites. Our goal was to identify areas where diagnostic performance was suboptimal and future educational efforts could be directed. There was very good ability to distinguish HPVA from HPV-independent adenocarcinomas within the WHO/IECC classification, with some challenges in the diagnosis of HPV-independent subtypes, especially mesonephric carcinoma. Diagnosis of HPVA subtypes was not consistent. For the Silva classification, the main challenge was related to distinction between pattern A and pattern B, with a tendency for participants to overdiagnose pattern B invasion. These observations can serve as the basis for more targeted efforts to improve diagnostic performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PGP.0000000000000757DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7969175PMC
March 2021

Endometrial carcinoma: molecular subtypes, precursors and the role of pathology in early diagnosis.

J Pathol 2021 04 6;253(4):355-365. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Endometrial carcinoma (EC) is classified into a wide range of morphological variants; this list has expanded over the past decade with the inclusion of mesonephric-like and dedifferentiated carcinoma as EC variants in the fifth edition of the WHO Classification of Female Genital Tumours, and recognition that carcinosarcoma is a biphasic carcinoma rather than a sarcoma. Each EC variant has distinct molecular abnormalities, including TCGA-based molecular subtypes, allowing further subclassification and adding complexity. In contrast to this rapid progress in understanding EC, there are only two recognized EC precursor lesions: endometrial atypical hyperplasia/endometrioid intraepithelial neoplasia (EAH/EIN) and serous intraepithelial carcinoma, a situation that has not changed for many years. Diagnosis of EC precursors is a cornerstone of surgical pathology practice, with early diagnosis contributing to the relatively favorable prognosis of EC. In this review we relate the precursor lesions to each of the EC morphological variants and molecular subtypes, discuss how successful early diagnosis is for each variant/molecular subtype and how it might be improved, and identify knowledge gaps where there is insufficient understanding of EC histogenesis. © 2020 The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.5608DOI Listing
April 2021

The cutoff for estrogen and progesterone receptor expression in endometrial cancer revisited: a European Network for Individualized Treatment of Endometrial Cancer collaboration study.

Hum Pathol 2021 03 15;109:80-91. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Department of Oncology, KU Leuven, 3000, Leuven, Belgium; Center for Gynaecologic Oncology, Netherlands Cancer Institute and Amsterdam University Medical Center, 1066, CX, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

There is no consensus on the cutoff for positivity of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) in endometrial cancer (EC). Therefore, we determined the cutoff value for ER and PR expression with the strongest prognostic impact on the outcome. Immunohistochemical expression of ER and PR was scored as a percentage of positive EC cell nuclei. Cutoff values were related to disease-specific survival (DSS) and disease-free survival (DFS) using sensitivity, specificity, and multivariable regression analysis. The results were validated in an independent cohort. The study cohort (n = 527) included 82% of grade 1-2 and 18% of grade 3 EC. Specificity for DSS and DFS was highest for the cutoff values of 1-30%. Sensitivity was highest for the cutoff values of 80-90%. ER and PR expression were independent markers for DSS at cutoff values of 10% and 80%. Consequently, three subgroups with distinct clinical outcomes were identified: 0-10% of ER/PR expression with, unfavorable outcome (5-year DSS = 75.9-83.3%); 20-80% of ER/PR expression with, intermediate outcome (5-year DSS = 93.0-93.9%); and 90-100% of ER/PR expression with, favorable outcome (5-year DSS = 97.8-100%). The association between ER/PR subgroups and outcomes was confirmed in the validation cohort (n = 265). We propose classification of ER and PR expression based on a high-risk (0-10%), intermediate-risk (20-80%), and low-risk (90-100%) group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.humpath.2020.12.003DOI Listing
March 2021

Preoperative risk stratification in endometrial cancer (ENDORISK) by a Bayesian network model: A development and validation study.

PLoS Med 2020 05 15;17(5):e1003111. Epub 2020 May 15.

Department of Pathology, Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Background: Bayesian networks (BNs) are machine-learning-based computational models that visualize causal relationships and provide insight into the processes underlying disease progression, closely resembling clinical decision-making. Preoperative identification of patients at risk for lymph node metastasis (LNM) is challenging in endometrial cancer, and although several biomarkers are related to LNM, none of them are incorporated in clinical practice. The aim of this study was to develop and externally validate a preoperative BN to predict LNM and outcome in endometrial cancer patients.

Methods And Findings: Within the European Network for Individualized Treatment of Endometrial Cancer (ENITEC), we performed a retrospective multicenter cohort study including 763 patients, median age 65 years (interquartile range [IQR] 58-71), surgically treated for endometrial cancer between February 1995 and August 2013 at one of the 10 participating European hospitals. A BN was developed using score-based machine learning in addition to expert knowledge. Our main outcome measures were LNM and 5-year disease-specific survival (DSS). Preoperative clinical, histopathological, and molecular biomarkers were included in the network. External validation was performed using 2 prospective study cohorts: the Molecular Markers in Treatment in Endometrial Cancer (MoMaTEC) study cohort, including 446 Norwegian patients, median age 64 years (IQR 59-74), treated between May 2001 and 2010; and the PIpelle Prospective ENDOmetrial carcinoma (PIPENDO) study cohort, including 384 Dutch patients, median age 66 years (IQR 60-73), treated between September 2011 and December 2013. A BN called ENDORISK (preoperative risk stratification in endometrial cancer) was developed including the following predictors: preoperative tumor grade; immunohistochemical expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), p53, and L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM); cancer antigen 125 serum level; thrombocyte count; imaging results on lymphadenopathy; and cervical cytology. In the MoMaTEC cohort, the area under the curve (AUC) was 0.82 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.76-0.88) for LNM and 0.82 (95% CI 0.77-0.87) for 5-year DSS. In the PIPENDO cohort, the AUC for 5-year DSS was 0.84 (95% CI 0.78-0.90). The network was well-calibrated. In the MoMaTEC cohort, 249 patients (55.8%) were classified with <5% risk of LNM, with a false-negative rate of 1.6%. A limitation of the study is the use of imputation to correct for missing predictor variables in the development cohort and the retrospective study design.

Conclusions: In this study, we illustrated how BNs can be used for individualizing clinical decision-making in oncology by incorporating easily accessible and multimodal biomarkers. The network shows the complex interactions underlying the carcinogenetic process of endometrial cancer by its graphical representation. A prospective feasibility study will be needed prior to implementation in the clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7228042PMC
May 2020

p53 Immunohistochemical patterns in HPV-related neoplasms of the female lower genital tract can be mistaken for TP53 null or missense mutational patterns.

Mod Pathol 2020 09 1;33(9):1649-1659. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

We have recently encountered p53 immunohistochemical (IHC) patterns in human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated carcinomas of the gynecologic tract, which were confused with absent (null) or overexpression TP53 mutational staining. We therefore evaluated p53 and p16 IHC in 25 squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) (16 vulva, 4 Bartholin's gland, and 5 cervix), 20 endocervical adenocarcinomas (EDAC), 14 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL), 2 adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS), all of which exhibited morphologic features of HPV. Only cases showing diffuse/strong block-like p16 staining were included for further study. All EDACs underwent TP53 sequencing and HPV in situ hybridization (ISH) was performed in selected cases. p53 IHC staining fell into two main patterns. The most common was designated as "markedly reduced (null-like)" (absence or significantly attenuated staining in >70% of cells), which could be confused with true null mutational pattern. This was present in 14/25 (56%) SCCs, 7/14 (50%) HSILs, and 18/20 (90%) EDACs. The second notable pattern was "mid-epithelial (basal sparing)" (distinct absence of staining in basal cells juxtaposed with strong staining in parabasal cells), seen in 10/25 (40%) SCC, 7/14 (50%) HSIL, and none of the EDACs. There was scattered weak to moderate p53 staining (conventional wild type) in 1/25 (4%) SCC and 2/20 (10%) EDAC. No cases showed strong/diffuse overexpression. One EDAC had a TP53 missense mutation and exhibited "markedly reduced (null-like)" staining. HPV ISH revealed an inverse relationship with p53, cells positive for HPV mRNA were negative for p53. Knowledge of these patterns can help pathologists avoid misinterpreting p53 status in the setting of HPVA cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0527-yDOI Listing
September 2020

Addition of IMP3 to L1CAM for discrimination between low- and high-grade endometrial carcinomas: a European Network for Individualised Treatment of Endometrial Cancer collaboration study.

Hum Pathol 2019 07 3;89:90-98. Epub 2019 May 3.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Medical Centre, 6500HB, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Discrimination between low- and high-grade endometrial carcinomas (ECs) is clinically relevant but can be challenging for pathologists, with moderate interobserver agreement. Insulin-like growth factor-II mRNA-binding protein 3 (IMP3) is an oncofoetal protein that is associated with nonendometrioid endometrial carcinomas but has been limited studied in endometrioid carcinomas. The aim of this study is to investigate the diagnostic and prognostic value of IMP3 in the discrimination between low- and high-grade ECs and its added value to L1CAM. IMP3 and L1CAM expression was assessed in tumors from 378 patients treated for EC at 1 of 9 participating European Network for Individualised Treatment of Endometrial Cancer centers. IMP3 was expressed in 24.6% of the tumors. In general, IMP3 was more homogeneously expressed than L1CAM. IMP3 expression was significantly associated with advanced stage, nonendometrioid histology, grade 3 tumors, deep myometrial invasion, lymphovascular space invasion, distant recurrences, overall mortality, and disease-related mortality. Simultaneous absence of IMP3 and L1CAM expression showed the highest accuracy for identifying low-grade carcinomas (area under the curve 0.766), whereas simultaneous expression of IMP3 and L1CAM was strongly associated with high-grade carcinomas (odds ratio 19.7; 95% confidence interval 9.2-42.2). Even within endometrioid carcinomas, this combination remained superior to IMP3 and L1CAM alone (odds ratio 8.6; 95% confidence interval 3.4-21.9). In conclusion, IMP3 has good diagnostic value and together with L1CAM represents the optimal combination of diagnostic markers for discrimination between low- and high-grade ECs compared to IMP3 and L1CAM alone. Because of the homogenous expression of IMP3, this marker might be valuable in preoperative biopsies when compared to the more patchy L1CAM expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.humpath.2019.04.014DOI Listing
July 2019

Poor outcome in hypoxic endometrial carcinoma is related to vascular density.

Br J Cancer 2019 05 23;120(11):1037-1044. Epub 2019 Apr 23.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Background: Identification of endometrial carcinoma (EC) patients at high risk of recurrence is lacking. In this study, the prognostic role of hypoxia and angiogenesis was investigated in EC patients.

Methods: Tumour slides from EC patients were stained by immunofluorescence for carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) as hypoxic marker and CD34 for assessment of microvessel density (MVD). CAIX expression was determined in epithelial tumour cells, with a cut-off of 1%. MVD was assessed according to the Weidner method. Correlations with disease-specific survival (DSS), disease-free survival (DFS) and distant disease-free survival (DDFS) were calculated using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression analysis.

Results: Sixty-three (16.4%) of 385 ECs showed positive CAIX expression with high vascular density. These ECs had a reduced DSS compared to tumours with either hypoxia or high vascular density (log-rank p = 0.002). Multivariable analysis showed that hypoxic tumours with high vascular density had a reduced DSS (hazard ratio [HR] 3.71, p = 0.002), DDFS (HR 2.68, p = 0.009) and a trend for reduced DFS (HR 1.87, p = 0.054).

Conclusions: This study has shown that adverse outcome in hypoxic ECs is seen in the presence of high vascular density, suggesting an important role of angiogenesis in the metastatic process of hypoxic EC. Differential adjuvant treatment might be indicated for these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-019-0461-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6738053PMC
May 2019

Combined ASRGL1 and p53 immunohistochemistry as an independent predictor of survival in endometrioid endometrial carcinoma.

Gynecol Oncol 2018 04 2;149(1):173-180. Epub 2018 Mar 2.

Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University of Tampere, Tampere University Hospital, PL2000, 33521 Tampere, Finland.

Objective: In clinical practise, prognostication of endometrial cancer is based on clinicopathological risk factors. The use of immunohistochemistry-based markers as prognostic tools is generally not recommended and a systematic analysis of their utility as a panel is lacking. We evaluated whether an immunohistochemical marker panel could reliably assess endometrioid endometrial cancer (EEC) outcome independent of clinicopathological information.

Methods: A cohort of 306 EEC specimens was profiled using tissue microarray (TMA). Cost- and time-efficient immunohistochemical analysis of well-established tissue biomarkers (ER, PR, HER2, Ki-67, MLH1 and p53) and two new biomarkers (L1CAM and ASRGL1) was carried out. Statistical modelling with embedded variable selection was applied on the staining results to identify minimal prognostic panels with maximal prognostic accuracy without compromising generalizability.

Results: A panel including p53 and ASRGL1 immunohistochemistry was identified as the most accurate predictor of relapse-free and disease-specific survival. Within this panel, patients were allocated into high- (5.9%), intermediate- (29.5%) and low- (64.6%) risk groups where high-risk patients had a 30-fold risk (P<0.001) of dying of EEC compared to the low-risk group.

Conclusions: P53 and ASRGL1 immunoprofiling stratifies EEC patients into three risk groups with significantly different outcomes. This simple and easily applicable panel could provide a useful tool in EEC risk stratification and guiding the allocation of treatment modalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2018.02.016DOI Listing
April 2018

Added Value of Estrogen Receptor, Progesterone Receptor, and L1 Cell Adhesion Molecule Expression to Histology-Based Endometrial Carcinoma Recurrence Prediction Models: An ENITEC Collaboration Study.

Int J Gynecol Cancer 2018 03;28(3):514-523

Objectives: Endometrial carcinoma mortality is mainly caused by recurrent disease, and various immunohistochemical markers to predict recurrences have been studied. Loss of the estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) and the presence of the L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) are promising markers, but their combined value has not been studied.

Materials And Methods: Expression of ER, PR, and L1CAM was immunohistochemically determined in 293 endometrial carcinomas from 11 collaborating European Network for Individualized Treatment of Endometrial Cancer centers. Estrogen receptor, PR, or L1CAM staining was considered positive or negative when expressed by greater than or equal to 10% or less than 10% of the tumor cells, respectively. The association between these markers and clinicopathological markers, and their combined value in predicting survival were calculated, both in the entire cohort and in a selected groups of stage I endometrioid and low-risk stage I endometrioid carcinomas.

Results: Estrogen receptor and PR were negative in 19% and 28% of the cases, respectively, and L1CAM was positive in 18%. All 3 were associated with advanced stage, high-grade, nonendometrioid histology, lymphovascular space invasion (LVSI), and reduced disease-free survival. Only advanced stage, loss of PR, and LVSI were associated with reduced disease-free survival in multivariate analysis. A prognostic model including these 3 markers was superior to 1 including only the 3 immunohistochemical markers, which was superior to the traditional model. In both the stage I endometrioid and the low-risk stage I endometrioid groups, only loss of PR was associated with reduced disease-free survival.

Conclusions: Loss of ER and PR, and the presence of L1CAM are associated with high risk characteristics, and loss of PR is the strongest predictor of recurrent disease. Although a combination of these 3 markers is slightly superior to the traditional histological markers, a prognostic model including stage, PR expression, and LVSI is the most promising model in the identification of high risk carcinomas. In the stage I endometrioid carcinomas, PR immunohistochemistry appears to be of additional value in predicting recurrences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/IGC.0000000000001187DOI Listing
March 2018

Integrated genome analysis of uterine leiomyosarcoma to identify novel driver genes and targetable pathways.

Int J Cancer 2018 03 7;142(6):1230-1243. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Department of Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Leuven, 3000, Belgium.

Uterine leiomyosarcomas (uLMS) are rare, aggressive malignancies for which limited treatment options are available. To gain novel molecular insights into uLMS and identify potential novel therapeutic targets, we characterized 84 uLMS samples for genome-wide somatic copy number alterations, mutations, gene fusions and gene expression and performed a data integration analysis. We found that alterations affecting TP53, RB1, PTEN, MED12, YWHAE and VIPR2 were present in the majority of uLMS. Pathway analyses additionally revealed that the PI3K/AKT/mTOR, estrogen-mediated S-phase entry and DNA damage response signaling pathways, for which inhibitors have already been developed and approved, frequently harbored genetic changes. Furthermore, a significant proportion of uLMS was characterized by amplifications and overexpression of known oncogenes (CCNE1, TDO2), as well as deletions and reduced expression of tumor suppressor genes (PTEN, PRDM16). Overall, it emerged that the most frequently affected gene in our uLMS samples was VIPR2 (96%). Interestingly, VIPR2 deletion also correlated with unfavorable survival in uLMS patients (multivariate analysis; HR = 4.5, CI = 1.4-14.3, p = 1.2E-02), while VIPR2 protein expression was reduced in uLMS vs. normal myometrium. Moreover, stimulation of VIPR2 with its natural agonist VIP decreased SK-UT-1 uLMS cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. These data suggest that VIPR2, which is a negative regulator of smooth muscle cell proliferation, might be a novel tumor suppressor gene in uLMS. Our work further highlights the importance of integrative molecular analyses, through which we were able to uncover the genes and pathways most frequently affected by somatic alterations in uLMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.31129DOI Listing
March 2018

Potential Targets' Analysis Reveals Dual PI3K/mTOR Pathway Inhibition as a Promising Therapeutic Strategy for Uterine Leiomyosarcomas-an ENITEC Group Initiative.

Clin Cancer Res 2017 Mar;23(5):1274-1285

Department of Pathology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Uterine sarcomas are rare and heterogeneous tumors characterized by an aggressive clinical behavior. Their high rates of recurrence and mortality point to the urgent need for novel targeted therapies and alternative treatment strategies. However, no molecular prognostic or predictive biomarkers are available so far to guide choice and modality of treatment. We investigated the expression of several druggable targets (phospho-S6 ribosomal protein, PTEN, PDGFR-α, ERBB2, and EGFR) in a large cohort of human uterine sarcoma samples (288), including leiomyosarcomas, low-grade and high-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas, undifferentiated uterine sarcomas, and adenosarcomas, together with 15 smooth muscle tumors of uncertain malignant potential (STUMP), 52 benign uterine stromal tumors, and 41 normal uterine tissues. The potential therapeutic value of the most promising target, p-S6, was tested in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) leiomyosarcoma models. In uterine sarcomas and STUMPs, S6 phosphorylation (reflecting mTOR pathway activation) was associated with higher grade ( = 0.001) and recurrence ( = 0.019), as shown by logistic regression. In addition, p-S6 correlated with shorter progression-free survival ( = 0.034). Treatment with a dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor significantly reduced tumor growth in 4 of 5 leiomyosarcoma PDX models (with tumor shrinkage in 2 models). Remarkably, the 4 responding models showed basal p-S6 expression, whereas the nonresponding model was scored as negative, suggesting a role for p-S6 in response prediction to PI3K/mTOR inhibition. Dual PI3K/mTOR inhibition represents an effective therapeutic strategy in uterine leiomyosarcoma, and p-S6 expression is a potential predictive biomarker for response to treatment. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-2149DOI Listing
March 2017

L1CAM expression in endometrial carcinomas: an ENITEC collaboration study.

Br J Cancer 2016 Sep 9;115(6):716-24. Epub 2016 Aug 9.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, TweeSteden Hospital, Doctor Deelenlaan 5, Tilburg 5042AD, The Netherlands.

Background: Identification of aggressive endometrioid endometrial carcinomas (EECs) and non-endometrioid carcinomas (NEECs) is essential to improve outcome. L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) expression is a strong prognostic marker in stage I EECs, but less is known about L1CAM expression in advanced-stage EECs and NEECs. This study analyses L1CAM expression in a clinically representative cohort of endometrial carcinomas.

Methods: The expression of L1CAM was immunohistochemically determined in 1199 endometrial carcinomas, treated at one of the European Network for Individualized Treatment of Endometrial Cancer (ENITEC) centres. Staining was considered positive when >10% of the tumour cells expressed L1CAM. The association between L1CAM expression and several clincopathological characteristics and disease outcome was calculated.

Results: In all, L1CAM was expressed in 10% of the 935 stage I EECs, 18% of the 160 advanced stage EECs, and 75% of the 104 NEECs. The expression of L1CAM was associated with advanced stage, nodal involvement, high tumour grade, non-endometrioid histology, lymphovascular space invasion, and distant recurrences in all cases, and with reduced survival in the EECs, but not in the NEECs.

Conclusions: The expression of L1CAM is a strong predictor of poor outcome in EECs, but not NEECs. It is strongly associated with non-endometrioid histology and distant spread, and could improve the postoperative selection of high-risk endometrial carcinomas. The value of L1CAM expression in the preoperative selection of high-risk endometrial carcinomas should be studied.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/bjc.2016.235DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5023774PMC
September 2016

Loss of ASRGL1 expression is an independent biomarker for disease-specific survival in endometrioid endometrial carcinoma.

Gynecol Oncol 2015 Jun 7;137(3):529-37. Epub 2015 Apr 7.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland; Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.

Objective: For endometrial carcinoma, prognostic stratification methods do not satisfactorily identify patients with adverse outcome. Currently, histology, tumor grade and stage are used to tailoring surgical treatment and to determine the need for adjuvant treatment. Low-risk patients are not considered to require adjuvant therapy or staging lymphadenectomy. For patients with intermediate or high risk, some guidelines recommend tailoring adjuvant treatment according to additional negative prognostic factors. Our objective was to evaluate the biomarker potential of the ASRGL1 protein in endometrial carcinoma.

Methods: Using The Human Protein Atlas (www.proteinatlas.org), the l-asparaginase (ASRGL1) protein was identified as an endometrial carcinoma biomarker candidate. ASRGL1 expression was immunohistochemically evaluated with an extensively validated antibody on two independent endometrial carcinoma cohorts (n=229 and n=286) arranged as tissue microarrays. Staining results were correlated with clinical features.

Results: Reduced expression of ASRGL1, defined as <75% positively stained tumor cells, was significantly associated with poor prognosis and reduced disease-specific survival in endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma (EEA). In multivariate analysis the hazard ratios for disease-specific survival were 3.55 (95% CI=1.10-11.43; p=0.003) and 3.23 (95% CI=1.53-6.81; p=0.002) in the two cohorts, respectively. Of the 48 cases with Grade 3 Stage I tumor all disease-related deaths were associated with low ASRGL1 expression.

Conclusions: Loss of ASRGL1 in EEA is a powerful biomarker for poor prognosis and retained ASRGL1 has a positive impact on survival. ASRGL1 immunohistochemistry has potential to become an additional tool for prognostication in cases where tailoring adjuvant treatment according to additional prognostic factors besides grade and stage is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2015.03.055DOI Listing
June 2015

Progesterone receptor negativity is an independent risk factor for relapse in patients with early stage endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma.

Gynecol Oncol 2013 Sep 15;130(3):463-9. Epub 2013 Jun 15.

Department of Pathology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Objective: In endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma (EEA), the currently established prognostic factors in clinical guidelines are stage and grade. Many guidelines include lymphovascular invasion (LVI) and tumor size as prognostic factors. Although several studies have associated lack of estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) expression with reduced outcome, the prognostic use of these markers is uncommon. Better prognostication of clinical behavior would be useful in patients with early stage (I-II) disease. In this study we evaluated ER and PR as prognostic factors in EEA, and compared their expression with other potential biomarkers and clinical parameters.

Methods: Tissue microarrays were constructed from 182 patients with stages I-II EEA. ER, PR, p53, Ki-67, PTEN, MLH and HER-2 expression were assessed by immunohistochemical staining and HER-2 was confirmed with SISH. The results were correlated with clinicopathologic parameters and to disease-free survival.

Results: Eleven patients (6%) developed recurrent disease during a median follow up time of 62.8 months. In univariate analysis FIGO grade (p=0.019), positive expression of p53 (p=0.010) and negative PR expression (p=0.001) were associated with a shorter disease-free survival. In multivariate analysis only negative PR expression (p=0.019) was significantly associated with a shorter disease-free survival. LVI and tumor size where not of prognostic value.

Conclusions: Lack of PR expression is a strong, independent risk factor for tumor recurrence in patients with stages I-II endometrioid endometrial cancer. The use of this easily measurable biomarker as a prognostic factor in the clinical context should be considered and tested in a larger patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2013.06.015DOI Listing
September 2013

Gene expression profiling of endometrial adenocarcinomas reveals increased apolipoprotein E expression in poorly differentiated tumors.

Int J Gynecol Cancer 2009 Oct;19(7):1226-31

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.

Introduction: Tumor grade is one of the most important prognostic factors in endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma. Amplification of oncogenes, such as Her2/neu, or loss of function of tumor suppressor genes, such as p53, are known to be associated with poor prognosis, but additional factors influencing clinical behavior are likely to exist. To examine the biological differences between low-grade and high-grade endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinomas, we compared gene expression in these 2 types of tumors.

Methods: Six well-differentiated adenocarcinomas and 7 poorly differentiated adenocarcinomas were studied with 2 different microarray platforms, Affymetrix and Illumina. The expression of the most differentially expressed gene on both platforms was further studied in 34 endometrial adenocarcinoma samples (10 well differentiated, 9 moderately differentiated, and 15 poorly differentiated) using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.

Results: The most differentially expressed gene on both platforms was Apolipoprotein E (APOE). In the poorly differentiated adenocarcinomas, APOE was overexpressed 13.1-fold (P = 0.001) and 9.7-fold (P = 0.007) when compared with well- and moderately differentiated tumors, respectively. There was no difference in APOE expression between well- and moderately differentiated adenocarcinomas.

Conclusions: Increased expression of APOE might represent a late event in the progression of well-differentiated endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma to a poorly differentiated endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma. Although increased APOE expression has been previously reported in other malignancies, this is the first study to suggest that APOE might also have a role in endometrioid endometrial cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/IGC.0b013e3181b33be0DOI Listing
October 2009
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