Combination of Napsin A and TTF-1 Immunohistochemistry Helps in Differentiating Primary Lung Adenocarcinoma From Metastatic Carcinoma in the Lung

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Differentiation of primary from metastatic adenocarcinoma in the lung can be challenging, and it demands sensitive and specific biomarkers, especially when the tissue for diagnosis is limited. Thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1) has been considered a reliable marker for adenocarcinoma of lung origin. However, several recent studies have shown that TTF-1 immunostaining is also positive in adenocarcinomas arising in different organs including colon, endometrium, endocervix, and ovary. In addition, approximately 20% of lung primary adenocarcinomas are negative for TTF-1 immunostaining, and napsin A immunostaining has slightly higher sensitivity in detecting lung primary adenocarcinoma. We performed TTF-1 and napsin A immunostaining on 120 cases of primary lung adenocarcinomas and 37 cases of metastatic carcinomas in the lung. The results showed that 95 (79.2%) of 120 lung primary adenocarcinomas showed napsin A(+)/TTF-1(+) double-positive immunostaining pattern. TTF-1(−)/napsin A(+), TTF-1(+)/napsin A(−), and TTF-1(−)/napsin A(−) were seen in 8.3%, 3.3%, and 9.2% lung primary adenocarcinomas, respectively. Eight (21.6%) of the 37 metastatic carcinomas were positive for TTF-1 and they include clear-cell renal cell carcinomas completely negative for napsin A although napsin A was detected in 12 (80.0%) of 15 primary papillary and 3 (33.3%) of 9 primary clear-cell renal cell carcinomas. All renal epithelial neoplasms were TTF-1 negative. These findings indicate that double napsin A and TTF-1-positive immunostaining is highly specific for lung primary adenocarcinoma and the combination of these 2 biomarkers is warranted to help segregating primary lung adenocarcinoma from metastatic carcinoma in the lung.

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