Morules But Not Squamous Differentiation are a Reliable Indicator of CTNNB1 (β-catenin) Mutations in Endometrial Carcinoma and Precancers

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Abstract

Although collectively regarded as "squamous differentiation (SD)" in endometrial endometrioid carcinoma (EEC) and atypical hyperplasia/endometrioid intraepithelial neoplasia (AH/EIN), morules (often referred to as "squamous morules") and true SD may represent two distinct phenomena. Here, we explored the distinction between morules versus SD and investigated the association of morules and SD with CTNNB1 mutations. A total of 270 cases of EEC and AH/EIN were studied, including EEC with (n=36) or without (n=36) morules and AH/EIN with (n=80) or without (n=118) morules. Cases were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and selected cases (n=20) by targeted next-generation sequencing panel. Near-perfect agreement was found between morules and glandular β-catenin nuclear staining in AH/EIN and EEC. A strong positive association was found between morules and glandular β-catenin nuclear staining (P<0.0001, Φ=0.59 in AH/EIN; P<0.0001, Φ=0.85 in EEC). There was no association between (1) morules and glandular PAX2 or PTEN aberrant expression or (2) SD and aberrant expression of β-catenin, PAX2 or PTEN (Φ=0.09, β-catenin; Φ=0.16, PAX2; Φ=0.13, PTEN). CTNNB1 mutations were identified in all 20 selected morule-containing cases (100%). Next-generation sequencing was performed on 2 (preprogestin and postprogestin treatment) biopsies from 1 patient, revealing identical mutational profile in morules and glands. In conclusion, (1) SD and morules are distinct biological phenomena; (2) the presence of morules, but not SD, is a reliable indicator of CTNNB1 mutations in EEC and AH/EIN. Our findings demonstrate that SD and morules are distinct biological phenomena. Since morules but not SD are associated with β-catenin mutations, the distinction is clinically relevant and should be included in diagnostic reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1455
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Volume46
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

Keywords

  • AH/EIN
  • CTNNB1 (β-catenin) mutations
  • endometrial endometrioid carcinoma
  • morules
  • squamous differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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