Publications by Year: 2011


Lymph node status is one of the most important predictors of survival in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Surgically resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma is often locally invasive and may invade directly into peripancreatic lymph nodes. The significance of direct invasion into lymph nodes in the absence of true lymphatic metastases is unclear. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively compare clinical outcome in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with direct invasion into peripancreatic lymph nodes with patients with node-negative adenocarcinomas and patients with true lymphatic lymph node metastasis. A total of 380 patients with invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma classified as pT3, were evaluated: ductal adenocarcinoma with true lymphatic metastasis to regional lymph nodes (248 cases), ductal adenocarcinoma without lymph node involvement (97 cases), and ductal adenocarcinoma with regional lymph nodes involved only by direct invasion from the main tumor mass (35 cases). Isolated lymph node involvement by direct invasion occurred in 35 of 380 (9%) patients. Overall survival for patients with direct invasion of lymph nodes (median survival, 21 mo; 5-year overall survival, 36%) was not statistically different from patients with node-negative adenocarcinomas (median survival, 30 mo; 5-year overall survival, 31%) (P=0.609). Patients with node-negative adenocarcinomas had an improved survival compared with patients with lymph node involvement by true lymphatic metastasis (median survival, 15 mo; 5-year overall survival, 8%) (P
Wu J, Beck A, Pate L, Witten D, Zhu S, Montgomery K, Allison K, Rijn M, West R. Endogenous versus tumor-specific host response to breast carcinoma: a study of stromal response in synchronous breast primaries and biopsy site changes. Clin Cancer Res 2011;17(3):437-46.
PURPOSE: We recently described two types of stromal response in breast cancer derived from gene expression studies of tenosynovial giant cell tumors and fibromatosis. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the basis of this stromal response--whether they are elicited by individual tumors or whether they represent an endogenous host reaction produced by the patient. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Stromal signatures from patients with synchronous dual primaries were analyzed by immunohistochemistry on a tissue microarray (n = 26 pairs) to evaluate the similarity of stromal responses in different tumors within the same patient. We also characterized the extent to which the stromal signatures were conserved between stromal response to injury compared to the stromal response to carcinoma using gene expression profiling and tissue microarray immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: The two stromal response signatures showed divergent associations in synchronous primaries: the DTF fibroblast response is more likely to be similar in a patient with multiple breast primaries (permutation analysis P = 0.0027), whereas CSF1 macrophage response shows no significant concordance in separate tumors within a given patient. The DTF fibroblast signature showed more concordance across normal, cancer, and biopsy site samples from within a patient, than across normal, cancer, and biopsy site samples from a random group of patients, whereas the CSF1 macrophage response did not. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the DTF fibroblast response is host-specific, whereas the CSF1 response may be tumor-elicited. Our findings provide further insight into stromal response and may facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies to target particular stromal subtypes.
Espinosa I, Edris B, Lee C-H, Cheng HW, Gilks B, Wang Y, Montgomery K, Varma S, Li R, Marinelli R, West R, Nielsen T, Beck A, Rijn M. CSF1 expression in nongynecological leiomyosarcoma is associated with increased tumor angiogenesis. Am J Pathol 2011;179(4):2100-7.
Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is a malignant tumor of smooth muscle cells for which few effective therapies exist. A subset of LMS cases express macrophage colony-stimulating factor (CSF1) and the resultant tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) infiltration predicts poor clinical outcome. Further, TAMs have been shown to increase tumor angiogenesis. Here, we analyzed 149 LMS cases by immunohistochemistry for vascular marker CD34 and show that high microvessel density (MVD) in nongynecological LMS cases significantly predicts poor patient outcome. The majority of high MVD cases were also CSF1-positive, and when combining high MVD with CSF1 expression, an even stronger prognostic correlation with patient outcome was obtained. Gene expression profiling revealed that MVD has a stronger correlation with CSF1 expression than with expression of vascular endothelial growth factor isoforms, which have traditionally been used as markers of angiogenesis and as anti-angiogenic therapeutic targets. Finally, patterns of CSF1 expression and TAM recruitment remained consistent between primary tumors and their metastases, and between primary tumors and those grown as xenografts in mice, highlighting the stability of these features to the biology of LMS tumors. Together, these findings suggest an important role for CSF1 and the resulting TAM infiltration in the pathological neovascularization of LMS tumors and provide a rationale for CSF1-targeted therapies in LMS.
Beck A, Rodriguez-Paris J, Zehnder J, Schrijver I. Evaluation of a gene expression microarray-based assay to determine tissue type of origin on a diverse set of 49 malignancies. Am J Surg Pathol 2011;35(7):1030-7.
The Tissue of Origin Frozen (TOO-FRZ) assay from Pathwork Diagnostics has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration as a diagnostic study for malignancies of unknown primary. The goal of this study was to evaluate the performance of TOO-FRZ on a diverse collection of malignancies. We collected a diverse set of 49 malignancies. We classified each case into 1 of 4 groups: common morphology from a tissue type included in the TOO-FRZ assay (n=29), uncommon morphology from a tissue type included in the TOO-FRZ assay (n=10), tumor from a tissue type not included in the TOO-FRZ assay (n=3), and malignancies of unknown primary (n=7). We found strong diagnostic performance for common morphologies from tissue types on the TOO-FRZ [overall accuracy=26 of 29 (90%, 95% CI, 73% to 97%)], with perfect performance in all tissue types except gastric (0 of 2) and pancreatic (1 of 2) tissues. There was a significant decline in performance for uncommon morphologies from tissue types included in the TOO-FRZ assay [6 of 10 (60%) cases with an indeterminate result, 1 of 10 (10%) cases with an incorrect prediction, and 3 of 10 (30%) with a correct prediction] and for tumors from tissue types not included in the assay (incorrect prediction in 2 of 3 cases). For the 7 malignancies of unknown primary in our study set, the TOO-FRZ provided a likely clinically useful result in only 2 of 7 cases. These results provide an insight into the strengths and limitations of this molecular assay for the surgical pathologist, and our findings suggest future directions for research in this area.
Wu K, Liu J-J, Adams W, Sonn G, Mach K, Pan Y, Beck A, Jensen K, Liao J. Dynamic real-time microscopy of the urinary tract using confocal laser endomicroscopy. Urology 2011;78(1):225-31.
OBJECTIVES: To develop the diagnostic criteria for benign and neoplastic conditions of the urinary tract using probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy (pCLE), a new technology for dynamic, in vivo imaging with micron-scale resolution. The suggested diagnostic criteria will formulate a guide for pCLE image interpretation in urology. METHODS: Patients scheduled for transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) or nephrectomy were recruited. After white-light cystoscopy (WLC), fluorescein was administered as contrast. Different areas of the urinary tract were imaged with pCLE via direct contact between the confocal probe and the area of interest. Confocal images were subsequently compared with standard hematoxylin and eosin analysis. RESULTS: pCLE images were collected from 66 participants, including 2 patients who underwent nephrectomy. We identified key features associated with different anatomic landmarks of the urinary tract, including the kidney, ureter, bladder, prostate, and urethra. In vivo pCLE of the bladder demonstrated distinct differences between normal mucosa and neoplastic tissue. Using mosaicing, a post hoc image-processing algorithm, individual image frames were juxtaposed to form wide-angle views to better evaluate tissue microarchitecture. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to standard pathologic analysis of fixed tissue with hematoxylin and eosin, pCLE provides real time microscopy of the urinary tract to enable dynamic interrogation of benign and neoplastic tissues in vivo. The diagnostic criteria developed in this study will facilitate adaptation of pCLE for use in conjunction with WLC to expedite diagnosis of urinary tract pathology, particularly bladder cancer.
Younes S, Beck A, Ohgami R, Lossos I, Levy R, Warnke R, Natkunam Y. The efficacy of HGAL and LMO2 in the separation of lymphomas derived from small B cells in nodal and extranodal sites, including the bone marrow. Am J Clin Pathol 2011;135(5):697-708.
We studied the efficacy of 2 germinal center B-cell markers, HGAL and LMO2, in the separation of lymphomas derived from small B cells, particularly follicular lymphoma (FL) and marginal zone lymphoma occurring in nodal, extranodal, splenic, and bone marrow sites using immunohistochemical analysis for CD10, BCL6, BCL2, HGAL, and LMO2. Our results showed that HGAL and LMO2 are sensitive and specific markers for detecting FL in nodal and extranodal sites. In contrast, all markers were down-regulated in FL infiltrates in the bone marrow. CD10 and HGAL were expressed in a subset of FLs in the bone marrow and were highly correlated with each other and with CD21, a marker of follicular dendritic cells. We conclude that HGAL and LMO2 should be considered in immunohistochemical panels used for the routine workup of lymphomas derived from small B cells. In the bone marrow, staining for HGAL or CD10 can be helpful in making a diagnosis of FL, although they are absent in a subset of cases.
Mills A, Beck A, Montgomery K, Zhu S, Espinosa I, Lee C-H, Subramanian S, Fletcher C, Rijn M, West R. Expression of subtype-specific group 1 leiomyosarcoma markers in a wide variety of sarcomas by gene expression analysis and immunohistochemistry. Am J Surg Pathol 2011;35(4):583-9.
Leiomyosarcomas (LMSs) constitute approximately one quarter of all sarcomas and are usually defined by morphologic criteria and/or immunoreactivity for actin or desmin. Among high-grade lesions, the distinction from undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) can be problematic, and previous studies have shown that a significant number of LMS cases may be hiding under the diagnosis of UPS. We recently described 3 novel molecular LMS subtypes that are distributed similarly over LMSs of gyneocologic and non-gyneocologic origins. The group 1 subtype shows an improved disease-specific survival compared with the other 2 groups that is independent of histologic grade. Group 1 comprises approximately 25% of all LMSs, and is defined by a shared pattern of gene expression, a distinct pattern of genomic changes, and reactivity for at least 3 of 5 immunohistochemistry (IHC) markers (smooth muscle gamma actin, calsequestrin 2, human muscle cofilin2, myosin light chain kinase, and sarcolemmal membrane associated protein), as tested on 271 cases of LMS in tissue microarrays. These IHC markers have not been well characterized in non-LMS sarcomas. Here we provide a characterization of these 5 markers across normal tissues, an additional 59 cases of LMS, and a wide range of 565 non-LMS soft tissue tumors from 44 diagnostic categories, with a focus on UPS. When analyzed individually, the 5 markers were found to be expressed in many sarcomas other than LMSs. However, when analyzed by the same criteria used for the recognition of group 1 LMSs, in which a case is scored positive when at least 3 of 5 markers reacted, coordinate expression was seen in significant numbers of cases from only 3 diagnostic groups that included 22% of leiomyomas (n=22), 16% of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (n=43), and 18% of endometrial stromal sarcomas (n=11). In addition, 5% (n=57) of UPSs showed a staining pattern similar to that seen in group 1 LMSs. To further examine the possibility that group 1 LMS constitutes a small part of cases diagnosed as UPS, we examined the expression of the top 500 genes from the group 1 LMS expression signature in 29 UPSs by complementary DNA microarray. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of 29 UPS expression showed that 2 (7%) had coordinated high levels of expression of genes from the group 1 LMS signature, a rate similar to that seen by IHC analysis. These findings show that group 1 LMS IHC markers smooth muscle gamma actin, calsequestrin 2, human muscle cofilin2, myosin light chain kinase, and sarcolemmal membrane associated protein when coordinately expressed have specificity for a subset of LMS when compared with other sarcomas, and may be useful for the recognition of group 1 LMS cases within cases diagnosed as UPS.
PAX (paired box) genes encode a family of transcription factors that regulate organogenesis in a variety of organs. Very little is known about the role of PAX8 in endocrine cell development and the expression of PAX8 in neuroendocrine tumors. The purpose of this study was to analyze PAX8 immunohistochemical expression in gastroenteropancreatic and pulmonary well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors to determine whether PAX8 can reliably distinguish pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors from neuroendocrine tumors of other anatomic sites and other pancreatic non-ductal neoplasms. In total, 221 well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors were evaluated: 174 primary neuroendocrine tumors (66 pancreatic, 31 ileal, 21 pulmonary, 20 gastric, 17 rectal, 11 appendiceal, and 8 duodenal) and 47 neuroendocrine tumors metastatic to the liver (31 pancreatic, 11 ileal, 2 pulmonary, 2 duodenal, and 1 rectal). Fifteen solid-pseudopapillary neoplasms and six acinar cell carcinomas of the pancreas were also evaluated. PAX8 was positive in 49/66 (74%) primary pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. PAX8 expression did not correlate with World Health Organization categorization, grade, size, functional status, or the presence of liver or lymph node metastasis. PAX8 expression was identified in 0/31 (0%) ileal, 0/21 (0%) pulmonary, 2/20 (10%) gastric, 5/17 (29%) rectal, 1/11 (9%) appendiceal, and 6/8 (75%) duodenal neuroendocrine tumors. PAX8 was positive in 4/15 (27%) solid-pseudopapillary neoplasms of the pancreas, whereas all acinar cell carcinomas (0/6) lacked immunoreactivity. Among liver metastases, only pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (20/31, 65%) were PAX8 positive, whereas no cases of ileal (0/11), pulmonary (0/2), duodenal (0/2), and rectal (0/1) neuroendocrine tumor metastases were PAX8 positive. PAX8 is expressed in primary and metastatic pancreatic well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors, and its expression can reliably distinguish pancreatic from ileal and pulmonary well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors. Duodenal neuroendocrine tumors and a subset of rectal, gastric, and appendiceal neuroendocrine tumors may also express PAX8. PAX8 expression can distinguish pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors from acinar cell carcinomas, but its utility in distinguishing neuroendocrine tumors from solid-pseudopapillary neoplasms is limited.
Beck A, Sangoi A, Leung S, Marinelli R, Nielsen T, Vijver M, West R, Rijn M, Koller D. Systematic analysis of breast cancer morphology uncovers stromal features associated with survival. Sci Transl Med 2011;3(108):108ra113.

The morphological interpretation of histologic sections forms the basis of diagnosis and prognostication for cancer. In the diagnosis of carcinomas, pathologists perform a semiquantitative analysis of a small set of morphological features to determine the cancer's histologic grade. Physicians use histologic grade to inform their assessment of a carcinoma's aggressiveness and a patient's prognosis. Nevertheless, the determination of grade in breast cancer examines only a small set of morphological features of breast cancer epithelial cells, which has been largely unchanged since the 1920s. A comprehensive analysis of automatically quantitated morphological features could identify characteristics of prognostic relevance and provide an accurate and reproducible means for assessing prognosis from microscopic image data. We developed the C-Path (Computational Pathologist) system to measure a rich quantitative feature set from the breast cancer epithelium and stroma (6642 features), including both standard morphometric descriptors of image objects and higher-level contextual, relational, and global image features. These measurements were used to construct a prognostic model. We applied the C-Path system to microscopic images from two independent cohorts of breast cancer patients [from the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) cohort, n = 248, and the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) cohort, n = 328]. The prognostic model score generated by our system was strongly associated with overall survival in both the NKI and the VGH cohorts (both log-rank P ≤ 0.001). This association was independent of clinical, pathological, and molecular factors. Three stromal features were significantly associated with survival, and this association was stronger than the association of survival with epithelial characteristics in the model. These findings implicate stromal morphologic structure as a previously unrecognized prognostic determinant for breast cancer.