Evaluation of immunohistochemical markers, CK17 and SOX2, as adjuncts to P53 for the diagnosis of differentiated vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (dVIN)

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Abstract

Histological diagnosis of differentiated vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (dVIN), the precursor of human papillomavirus (HPV)-independent vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC), can be challenging, as features of dVIN may mimic those of non-dysplastic dermatoses. To aid the diagnosis, p53-immunohistochemistry (IHC) is commonly used, and mutant expression patterns are used to support a histological diagnosis of dVIN. However, a proportion of dVIN can show wild-type p53-expression, which is characteristic of non-dysplastic dermatoses. Furthermore, recent research has identified a novel precursor of HPV-independent VSCC—the p53-wild-type differentiated exophytic vulvar intraepithelial lesion (de-VIL). Currently, there are no established diagnostic IHC-markers for p53-wild-type dVIN or de-VIL. We evaluated IHC-markers, cytokeratin 17 (CK17), and SRY-box 2 (SOX2), as diagnostic adjuncts for dVIN. For this, IHC-expression of CK17, SOX2, and p53 was studied in dVIN (n = 56), de-VIL (n = 8), and non-dysplastic vulvar tissues (n = 46). For CK17 and SOX2, the percentage of cells showing expression, and the intensity and distribution of expression were recorded. We also performed next generation targeted sequencing (NGTS) on a subset of dVIN (n = 8) and de-VIL (n = 8). With p53-IHC, 74% of dVIN showed mutant patterns and 26% showed wild-type expression. Median percentage of cells expressing CK17 or SOX2 was significantly higher in dVIN (p53-mutant or p53-wild-type) and de-VIL than in non-dysplastic tissues (p < 0.01). Diffuse, moderate-to-strong, full epithelial expression of CK17 or SOX2 was highly specific for dVIN and de-VIL. With NGTS, TP53 mutations were detected in both dVIN and de-VIL. We infer that immunohistochemical markers CK17 and SOX2, when used along with p53, may help support the histological diagnosis of dVIN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number324
JournalPharmaceuticals
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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