Pdx1 expression in pancreatic precursor lesions and neoplasms

Jason Y. Park, Seung Mo Hong, David S. Klimstra, Michael G. Goggins, Anirban Maitra, Ralph H. Hruban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Pancreatic and duodenal homeobox (Pdx1) is a homeobox transcription factor required for the embryonic development of the pancreas. Pdx1 expression has been earlier identified in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas and endocrine neoplasms. This study characterizes Pdx1 protein expression in pancreatic precursor lesions and neoplasms, including pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN, n=32), intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN, n=88), mucinous cystic neoplasm (MCN, n=3), acinar cell carcinoma (ACC, n=8), pancreatic endocrine neoplasm (PEN, n=44), pancreatoblastoma (PB, n=1), solid pseudopapillary neoplasm (n=8), invasive ductal adenocarcinoma (n=67), and nondysplastic ductal epithelium. A mouse monoclonal antibody for Pdx1 was used to examine archived surgical pathology cases and tissue microarrays containing >655 tissue cores from more than 250 pancreatic specimens. Immunohistochemical labeling for Pdx1 was performed using standard methods and scored for percentage and intensity of nuclear labeling. Among non-neoplastic pancreatic tissues, Pdx1 nuclear protein was expressed in islet cells, cells of the centroacinar cell compartment, and non-neoplastic ductal epithelium. No expression of Pdx1 was seen in non-neoplastic acinar cells. Among pancreatic neoplasms, Pdx1 consistently labeled >50% of the tumor cells in 87.5% of ACC cases and 38.6% of PEN cases. Pdx1 expression was variable in invasive ductal adenocarcinoma and precursor lesions of ductal adenocarcinomas (PanIN, IPMN, and MCN). A single case of PB was examined and it showed Pdx1 in the acinar component, but no expression in squamoid nests. Solid pseudopapillary neoplasms did not express Pdx1. This study shows Pdx1 expression in precursor lesions of ductal adenocarcinomas, PEN, ACC, and a case of PB. In the immunohistochemical evaluation of neoplasms of the pancreas, Pdx1 expression is not a finding specific to PENs and ductal adenocarcinomas, but also occurs in precursor lesions (PanIN, IPMN, MCN) and other neoplasms of the pancreas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-449
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Pdx1
  • acinar cell carcinoma
  • adenocarcinoma
  • pancreas
  • pancreatoblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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