Polymeric immunoglobulin receptor-negative tumors represent a more aggressive type of adenocarcinomas of distal esophagus and gastroesophageal junction

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine






Context. - Polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (PIgR) expression has been found in gastric mucosa and gastric cancers, but it is not known whether PIgR expression is related to background intestinal metaplasia nor the patterns of PIgR expression in tumors arising in the distal esophagus and gastroesophageal (GE) junction. Objectives. - To identify clinicopathologic features of tumors associated with PIgR expression and to determine whether PIgR expression is associated with intestinal differentiation of tumors and intestinal metaplasia in background mucosa in 3 groups of upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas. These groups are (1) gastric adenocarcinomas, (2) adenocarcinomas of the distal esophagus and GE junction with background intestinal metaplasia, and (3) adenocarcinomas of the distal esophagus and GE junction without background intestinal metaplasia. Design. - Expression of PIgR and CDX2 in nonneoplastic mucosa, intestinal metaplasia, and adenocarcinomas was examined by immunohistochemistry in 42 cases: 14 gastric and 28 from the distal esophagus and GE junction, including 13 with esophageal or GE junction intestinal metaplasia. Results. - PIgR and CDX2 were expressed in all cases of intestinal metaplasia. PIgR expression was positive in 40% of group 3 versus 77% of group 2 and 71% of gastric adenocarcinomas (P = .06), and the expression of CDX2 was similar in all tumor groups (80%-83%). Metastatic-positive lymph nodes were more frequent in PIgR-negative tumors (94% vs 58%, P = .01). Conclusions. - PIgR is uniformly expressed in intestinal metaplasia and in a subgroup of adenocarcinomas of the distal esophagus, GE junction, and stomach. Esophageal and GE junction adenocarcinomas that do not express PIgR show more frequent lymph node metastasis, suggesting that lack of expression of PIgR identifies a subgroup of more aggressive adenocarcinomas.

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