Discrimination of complete hydatidiform mole from its mimics by immunohistochemistry of the paternally imprinted gene product p57KIP2.
The p57KIP2 protein is a cell cycle inhibitor and tumor suppressor encoded by a strongly paternally imprinted gene. We explored the utility of p57KIP2 as a diagnostic marker in hydatidiform mole, a disease likely the result of abnormal dosage and consequent misexpression of imprinted genes. Using a monoclonal antibody on paraffin-embedded, formalin-fixed tissue sections, the authors evaluated p57KIP2 expression in normal placenta and in 149 gestations including 59 complete hydatidiform moles, 39 PHMs, and 51 spontaneous losses with hydropic changes. p57KIP2 was strongly expressed in cytotrophoblast and villous mesenchyme in normal placenta, all cases of partial hydatidiform moles (39 of 39) and all spontaneous losses with hydropic changes (51 of 51). In contrast, p57KIP2 expression in cytotrophoblast and villous mesenchyme was absent or markedly decreased in 58 of 59 complete hydatidiform moles. In all gestations p57KIP2 was strongly expressed in decidua and in intervillous trophoblast islands, which served as internal positive controls for p57KIP2 immunostaining. p57KIP2 immunohistochemistry can reliably identify most cases of complete hydatidiform mole irrespective of gestational age and is thus a useful diagnostic adjunct, complementary to ploidy analysis, in the diagnosis of hydatidiform mole.