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Mucins are glycoproteins that are common on the surfaces of many epithelial cells. Under normal circumstances, mucins are known to play a protective role for epithelial tissues. In addition, their involvement in the differentiation of the epithelium, modulation of cell adhesion, as well as cell signalling has also been proposed.1 Two main families can be distinguished: secreted mucins or gel-forming mucins (MUC2, MUC5AC, MUC5B, MUC6), and membrane-bound mucins (MUC1, MUC3, MUC4, MUC12, MUC17).2 Alterations in the expression and in the structure of mucins have been reported in both pre-neoplastic and neoplastic lesions.3 The production of MUC2 or MUC5AC has been correlated, by a majority of non-invasive type tumours, with the expansive growth of the tumours that display lower levels of invasion and metastasis.4 A broad histomorphological spectrum of ampullary carcinomas of Vater make a reproducible histological classification difficult. Ampullary carcinomas positive for MUC2 have been associated with intestinal type tumour, whereas MUC5AC-positive ampullary carcinomas were related to pancreaticobiliary type.5–7 In ampullary carcinoma, immunohistochemical expression …
Competing interests: None declared.