Molecular and Immunohistochemical Analysis of Mucinous Cystic Neoplasm of the Liver

Benjamin J. van Treeck, Mira Lotfalla, Thomas W. Czeczok, Taofic Mounajjed, Roger K. Moreira, Daniela S. Allende, Michelle D. Reid, Bita V. Naini, Maria Westerhoff, N. Volkan Adsay, Sarah E. Kerr, Sumera H. Rizvi, Rory L. Smoot, Yuanhang Liu, Jaime Davila, Rondell P. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Mucinous cystic neoplasm of the liver is characterized by neoplastic mucinous and/or biliary epithelium surrounded by ovarian-type stroma. Immunohistochemical studies have shown that the ovarian-type stroma expresses estrogen receptor, suggesting potential hormonal responsiveness. The molecular biology of mucinous cystic neoplasm of the liver remains poorly studied. Methods: Transcriptome sequencing and immunohistochemistry were performed on a series of mucinous cystic neoplasms. Results: Mucinous cystic neoplasm of the liver exhibited significantly increased RNA expression of ovarian stromal markers WT1, PR, and ER2 and sex cord stromal markers SF-1, inhibin-α, and calretinin compared with nonneoplastic liver. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the RNA-level data. Evidence for sex hormone biosynthesis was identified by significant overexpression of multiple estrogen biosynthetic enzymes. Expression of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 was confirmed immunohistochemically. Pathway analysis also identified significant upregulation of the hedgehog and Wnt pathways and significant downregulation of T-helper 1 and T-helper 2 pathways. Conclusions: Mucinous cystic neoplasm of the liver recapitulates ovarian stroma at the morphologic, DNA, RNA, and protein levels. These data support the concept that this tumor likely arises from ectopic primitive gonadal tissue and/or stromal cells with capacity to transdifferentiate to ovarian cortical cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-847
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Biliary neoplasia
  • Hedgehog pathway
  • Mucinous cystic neoplasm
  • Ovarian-like stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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