Alterations in Ki67 labeling following treatment of poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas: A potential diagnostic pitfall Journal Article


Authors: Vyas, M.; Tang, L. H.; Rekhtman, N.; Klimstra, D. S.
Article Title: Alterations in Ki67 labeling following treatment of poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas: A potential diagnostic pitfall
Abstract: Assessment of the Ki67 index is critical for grading well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors (WD-NETs), which can show a broad range of labeling that defines the WHO grade (G1-G3). Poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (PD-NECs) have a relatively high Ki67 index, >20% in all cases and commonly exceeding 50%. After anecdotally observing PD-NECs with an unexpectedly low and heterogeneous Ki67 index following chemotherapy in 5 cases, we identified 15 additional cases of treated high-grade neuroendocrine neoplasms (HG-NENs). The study cohort comprised 20 cases; 11 PD-NECs, 8 mixed adenoneuroendocrine carcinomas, and 1 WD-NET, G3 from various anatomic sites (gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, larynx, lung, and breast). The Ki67 index was evaluated on pretreatment (when available) and posttreatment samples. Topographic heterogeneity in the Ki67 index was expressed using a semi-quantitative score of 0 (no heterogeneity) to 5 (>80% difference between maximal Ki67 and minimal Ki67 indices). Relative to the pretreatment group (n=9, mean Ki67 of 86.3%, range 80% to 100%), the neoplasms in the posttreatment group (n=20, mean Ki67 of 47.7%, range 1% to 90%) showed a significantly lower Ki67 index (18/20 cases). Of the 18 cases with a relatively low Ki67 index, 15 showed heterogeneous labeling (mean heterogeneity score of 2.3, range 1 to 5) and in 3 cases it was a homogeneously low. This phenomenon was observed in all subtypes of HG-NENs. In 6 cases, the alterations in Ki67 index following treatment were sufficient to place these HG-NENs in the WHO G1 or G2 grade, erroneously suggesting a diagnosis of WD-NET, and in 9 cases there was sufficient heterogeneity in the Ki67 index to suggest that a limited biopsy may sample an area of low Ki67, even though hotspot regions with a Ki67 index of >20% persisted. In 7 cases, the alterations in the Ki67 index were accompanied by morphologic features resembling a WD-NET. These observations suggest that there is a potential for misinterpretation of previously treated PD-NECs as WD-NETs, or for assigning a lower grade in G3 WD-NETs. While the prognostic significance of treatment-associated alterations in Ki67 index is unknown, awareness of this phenomenon is important to avoid this diagnostic pitfall when evaluating treated NENs. © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: carcinoma; neuroendocrine; high grade; ki67; proliferation index; posttreatment
Journal Title: American Journal of Surgical Pathology
Volume: 45
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0147-5185
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins  
Date Published: 2021-01-01
Start Page: 25
End Page: 34
Language: English
DOI: 10.1097/pas.0000000000001602
PUBMED: 33177340
PROVIDER: scopus
DOI/URL:
Notes: Article -- Export Date: 4 January 2021 -- Source: Scopus
Altmetric
Citation Impact
MSK Authors
  1. Natasha Rekhtman
    324 Rekhtman
  2. David S Klimstra
    944 Klimstra
  3. Laura Hong Tang
    379 Tang
  4. Monika Vyas
    11 Vyas