Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

PLoS One


Gallbladder Neoplasms; Gastrointestinal Neoplasms; Humans; Immunohistochemistry; Keratins; Pancreatic Neoplasms; Peritoneal Neoplasms; Peritoneum


Tumor invasion of the peritoneal membrane may have an adverse prognostic significance, but its histopathologic features can be diagnostically difficult to recognize. We observed that local peritoneal injury associated with tumor invasion is characterized by activation and proliferation of serosal stromal cells that express cytokeratin, a characteristic property of injured serosal membranes that may have diagnostic utility. To explore this, we examined 120 primary tumors of the gastrointestinal tract and pancreaticobiliary system using cytokeratin and elastic stains to assess for tumor invasion of peritoneal membranes. Peritoneal invasion by tumor was associated with retraction, splaying, and destruction of the elastic lamina and proliferation of keratin-expressing stromal cells of serosal membranes. All 82 peritoneal invasive tumors were characterized by neoplastic cells that invaded the elastic lamina and the serosal connective tissue with neoplastic cells that abutted or were surrounded by keratin-positive stromal cells, whereas all 38 tumors limited to the subserosa showed none of these features. The diagnosis of tumor invasion of peritoneal membranes is enhanced by the combined use of cytokeratin and elastic stains, which in turn would enable better histopathologic correlation with patient treatment and outcome.

Clinical Institute

Digestive Health