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Expression of Glypican 3 in Ovarian and Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumors

Debra L. Zynger MD, Michael J. Everton MD, Nikolay D. Dimov MD, Pauline M. Chou MD, Ximing J. Yang MD, PhD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/8DN7DQRDFB4QNH3N 224-230 First published online: 1 August 2008


Germ cell tumors (GCTs), rare malignancies that occur in a wide range of locations and display variable histologic patterns, may pose diagnostic challenges. Glypican 3 (GPC3), a membrane-bound heparan sulfate proteoglycan, has been shown to be a novel diagnostic marker in testicular GCT. However, GPC3 expression in ovarian and extragonadal GCT has not been reported. We evaluated GPC3 immunoreactivity in GCTs from 63 patients (57 children and 6 adults), including 14 ovarian and 20 extragonadal primary GCTs and 8 metastases along with 21 primary testicular GCTs for comparison. All 33 yolk sac tumors (YSTs) and both choriocarcinomas were immunoreactive for GPC3. In contrast, a minority of immature (4/10) and mature (4/35) teratomas were positive. No positivity was seen in 6 embryonal carcinomas or 5 germinomas. GPC3 is differentially expressed in ovarian and extragonadal GCTs, with expression predominantly observed in YSTs and choriocarcinoma.

Key Words:
  • GPC3
  • Glypican 3
  • Germ cell tumor
  • Yolk sac tumor
  • Ovary
  • Pediatric