Primary cutaneous carcinosarcomas (PCCs) are rare malignant neoplasms that are characterized by biphasic epithelial and mesenchymal differentiation. When the biphasic nature is not evident, immunohistochemical studies may be important in the diagnosis of PCCs. Although AE1/AE3 is frequently used to demonstrate the epithelial component, it may not be strongly expressed in epithelial cells that are not well-differentiated. p63 is a protein homologue of p53 that is expressed in poorly differentiated epithelial cells. We report 3 cases of PCC. The clearly epithelial areas of each tumor were frequently positive for both markers, whereas the sarcomatous areas were negative for both markers. Epithelial cells that were poorly differentiated and not easily identifiable were positive for p63 but negative for AE1/AE3. Of interest, transitional areas showed positivity for p63 alone. These 3 cases suggest that the use of both p63 and routine cytokeratin markers such as AE1/AE3 can increase the sensitivity for distinguishing epithelial cells over a range of differentiation states, which we propose will aid in the diagnosis of PCCs. In addition, the staining pattern of AE1/AE3 and p63 in these cases further supports the conversion theory of PCC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine