AIMS: To examine neuroendocrine differentiation, as shown by chromogranin A (CGA) expression, in cervical carcinomas. METHODS: Sixty seven cervical carcinomas were studied and were classified as adenocarcinomas, adenosquamous carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas based on the assessment of haematoxylin and eosin staining and stains for mucin. Where features of glandular differentiation were identified, sections were also stained for evidence of intestinal type mucin. CGA immunostaining was done and the results were graded on a three point scale: 0, + (1-5% of cells positive) and ++ (> 5% of cells positive). These findings were then analysed with respect to lymph node status, tumour differentiation and clinical outcome. RESULTS: There were 32 adenocarcinomas, 18 adenosquamous carcinomas and 17 squamous cell carcinomas. Positive staining was seen in 14 (20.9%) cases, of which four were strongly positive. All but one case were either adenocarcinomas or adenosquamous carcinomas. There was a trend for CGA positivity to be related to intestinal differentiation but this failed to reach statistical significance. No correlation could be demonstrated between CGA staining and lymph node status, tumour differentiation and clinical outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Neuroendocrine differentiation is common in cervical carcinomas where there is evidence of glandular differentiation. Whilst the numbers in this study are relatively small, the presence of neuroendocrine cells in otherwise typical carcinomas does not seem to have any association with clinical behaviour.
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