Islet-1 Is a Sensitive But Not Entirely Specific Marker for Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Neoplasms and Their Metastases

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
The American journal of surgical pathology (Impact Factor: 5.15). 01/2013; 37(3). DOI: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e31826f042c
Source: PubMed


Islet-1 (Isl1) is a transcription factor involved in the embryogenesis of islets of Langerhans. Immunohistochemically, Isl1 is a sensitive lineage-specific marker for pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) and their metastases. Its specificity has not been documented, nor have large numbers of NENs from other parts of the gut or other organs been studied. We examined Isl1 expression in 203 primary NENs (gastroenteropancreatic, lung, breast, and ovarian neoplasms) and 40 hepatic NEN metastases (enteropancreatic and lung neoplasms) from known primaries. The correlation between Isl1 and CDX2 expression was studied using a tissue microarray containing 46 pancreatic NENs. Immunostaining for Isl1 and CDX2 was also performed in selected NENs from other sites. Isl1 was positive in 90% of pancreatic, 89% of duodenal, 100% of rectal, 38% of colonic, 14% of appendiceal, and 6% of ileal primaries. Isl1 was negative in all other NENs. Among metastatic neoplasms, 76% of pancreatic and 2 of 2 rectal NEN metastases were Isl1 positive, whereas all other tested metastases were negative. The overall sensitivity and specificity of Isl1 in identifying primary pancreatic NENs was 88% and 80%, respectively. Thirty-six of 46 pancreatic NENs in the tissue microarray were Isl1 positive; 4 were Isl1 negative but CDX2 positive. Our findings confirm that Isl1 is a sensitive marker of pancreatic origin in cases of metastatic NEN. However, Isl1 does not distinguish pancreatic NEN from duodenal and colorectal NEN, even when used in association with CDX2.

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    • "Most recent study indicates that ISL-1 is a sensitive but not entirely specific marker of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) and their metastases. The overall sensitivity and specificity of ISL-1 in identifying primary pancreatic NENs is 88% and 80%, respectively [14]. Increasing evidences indicate an important role of ISL-1 in the development of some cancers. "
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