A role for sex hormones in the pathogenesis of solid-cystic tumour (SCT) of the pancreas is suggested by its predilection for young fertile women. Controversial data have been provided for the presence of progesterone receptors (PR) and/or oestrogen receptors (ER) in SCT. We report the immunohistochemical detection of PR in ten cases of SCT. Eight were from young women. The remaining two were from a post-menopausal woman and a young boy. All cases showed PR immunoreactivity in the large majority of neoplastic cells, whereas none exhibited ER positivity. In one tumour two types of cell populations were noted, the more anaplastic invasive-type being PR negative, whereas the more typical was PR positive. PR immunoreactivity in the absence of ER may simply reflect a lower sensitivity of ER antibody failing to reveal the biochemically detectable ER, or that the PR in cells of SCT are constitutively synthesized in an oestrogen-independent way, as in T47D breast carcinoma cell line, meningioma cells and some gastric cancer cells. Our findings support the hypothesis of a possible pathogenetic role of progesterone in SCT, independent of the patient's sex and age.
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