Introduction: Diagnosing non-small cell lung cancer on biopsy/cellblock samples by morphology may be demanding. As sparing material for molecular testing is mandatory, a minimalist immunohistochemistry (IHC)-based diagnostic approach is warranted by means of novel, reliable, and easy-to-assess biomarkers. Methods: Forty-six consecutive biopsy/cellblock samples and the corresponding resection specimens (as the gold standard for morphology and IHC) from 30 adenocarcinomas (AD), 10 squamous carcinomas (SQC), 5 adenosquamous carcinomas (ADSQC), and 1 sarcomatoid carcinoma (SC) were IHC-evaluated for p40 [corresponding to nontransactivating ΔNp63 isoforms] and thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF1) by semiquantitative assessment. For p40, also immunodecoration intensity was taken into account and dichotomized as strong or low. Results: Nonrandom and overlapping distributions of the relevant markers were found in biopsy/cellblock and surgical specimens, which closely correlated with each other and the diverse tumor categories, with no differences in area under curve-receiver-operating-characteristic curves for each marker between any two samples, including p40 and p63. Diagnostic combinations were p40-/TTF1+ or TTF1- for AD (where p40 was negative, apart from 5/30 AD showing at the best 1-2% tumor cells with low intensity); p40+/TTF1- (p40 strong and by far higher than 50%) for SQC; and p40+/TTF1- or p40+/TTF1- (p40 strong and less than 50%) for ADSQC. The single SC case was p40-/TTF1-, suggesting glandular lineage. Practically, 41/46 (89%) tumors were correctly classified by IHC on small samples, including 30 AD, 10 SQC, 1/5 ADSQC, and no SC. Underdiagnosis of ADSQC was actually because of sampling error of biopsies/cellblocks rather than insufficient biomarker robustness, whereas underdiagnosis of SC was really because of the failure of either marker to highlight epithelialmesenchymal transition. Conclusions: This minimalist IHC-based model of p40 and TTF1 on biopsy/cellblock samples was effective to correctly subtype most cases of lung cancer.
- Surgical specimen
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine