Expression profiles of carcinosarcoma of the uterine corpus-are these similar to carcinoma or sarcoma?
Expression of intermediate filaments (IFs) has been suggested to be a reliable marker for differentiating epithelial and non-epithelial tumors. Moreover, the c-erbB-2 and p53 genes are considered to be involved relatively early in the process of human carcinogenesis. In order to elucidate the origin of uterine carcinosarcomas, we analyzed IF, c-erbB-2 and p53 expression in and the ultrastructural characteristics of clones derived from a human uterine-carcinosarcoma cell line, EMTOKA. The expression of IFs and other proteins in the EMTOKA clones was identical to that in the EMTOKA cell line. It and its 7 clones all expressed cytokeratins 8, 17, 18 and 19, vimentin, epithelial membrane antigen, S-100, myoglobin, type-II collagen, alpha-smooth-muscle actin, placental alkaline phosphatase and epidermal-growth-factor receptor. The c-erbB-2 and p53 expression levels of all the cell types of the EMTOKA cell line and its clones were the same. Interestingly, an ultrastructural study showed that the EMTOKA cell line and its clones at early and late passages possessed the characteristics of epithelial cell types without either transitional forms between the epithelial and stromal components or differentiation into sarcomatous components. The results of this study lend particular support to the combination tumor hypothesis that a precursor (stem) cell gives rise both to epithelial and to mesenchymal components during the histogenesis of uterine carcinosarcoma, the epithelial component of which appears to be dominant, suggesting that the established cell lines derived from a common stem cell.