Immunohistochemical Analysis of c-Myc, c-Jun and Estrogen Receptor in Normal, Hyperplastic and Neoplastic Endometrium

Sema BIRCAN1, Arzu ENSARI1, Sibel OZTURK1, Nural ERDOGAN1, Ilkkan DUNDAR2, Firat ORTAC2

1Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Ankara, Ankara, Turkey
2Department of Gynecological Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Ankara, Ankara, Turkey


To evaluate the role of c-jun and c-myc proto-oncogenes in normal, hyperplastic and neoplastic endometrium in relation to estrogen receptor (ER) status and to investigate whether these genes can be related to other histopathological features of endometrial carcinoma, 32 endometrial carcinomas, 38 endometrial hyperplasias and 22 cyclic endometria (10 proliferative and 12 secretory) were evaluated histologically. Endometrial hyperplasia cases were classified as simple and complex hyperplasia without atypia, and atypical hyperplasia. Endometrial carcinoma cases were subtyped according to the International Society of Gynecological Pathologists. Modified FIGO system was used for both grading and staging. Immunohistochemical examination was performed using antibodies to ER-alpha, c-myc and c-jun with streptavidin-biotin-peroxidase technique. The mean percentage of ER-alpha positive cells changed cyclically during the menstrual cycle, and it was the highest (96%) and the lowest (31.6%) in proliferative and carcinomatous endometrium, respectively. There was a statistically significant difference between proliferative and secretory phases and proliferative and carcinomatous endometrium in relation to ER-alpha staining (p<0.05). There was also a statistically significant difference with respect to ERalpha reactivity between secretory phase and each hyperplastic group, as well as between the carcinoma group and each hyperplastic group (p<0.05). Although not significant, the mean percentage of c-myc expressing cells in the carcinoma group was higher (15.3%) than that of proliferative phase and hyperplastic groups. The mean percentage of c-jun positive cells in proliferative endometrium was slightly higher than in secretory endometrium, and it was the highest in atypical hyperplastic endometrium (28.3%), but there was no statistically significant difference between the groups. In carcinoma cases, a positive correlation was observed between c-jun positivity and tumor grade (p=0.027, r=0.3908), but such a correlation with c-myc was not found. A positive correlation was detected between ER-alpha and c-myc expression (p=0.038, r=0.3686). A progressive loss of ER seems to be correlated with increasing malignant transformation. C-myc expression might play a role in the development of endometrial carcinoma via ER. The association between c-jun and ER appears to be lost in endometrial carcinoma. The relationship between c-myc, c-jun and ER appears to be altered in endometrial carcinoma compared to that of menstrual endometrium. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 11, Nr 1, 32-39, 2005

Key words: human endometrium; estrogen receptor; c-myc; c-jun

Received: Oct 20, 2004; accepted: Dec 25, 2004
Correspondence: Sema BIRCAN, Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Ankara, Suleyman Demirel Universitesi, Tip Fakultesi, Patoloji Anabilim Dali, Isparta Ankara , Turkey, Fax: 90-246-237 1758; E-mail:

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