Tissue-based Immunohistochemical Biomarker Accuracy in the Diagnosis of Malignant Glandular Lesions of the Uterine Cervix: A Systematic Review of the Literature and Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Immunohistochemistry is widely used to support a pathology diagnosis of cervical adenocarcinoma despite the absence of a systematic review and meta-analysis of the published data. This systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to investigate the sensitivity and specificity of immunohistochemistry biomarkers in the tissue-based diagnosis of cervical adenocarcinoma histotypes compared with normal endocervix and benign glandular lesions. The systematic review and meta-analysis used a PICOT framework and QUADAS-2 to evaluate the quality of included studies. The literature search spanned 40 years and ended June 30, 2015. Abstracts of identified records were independently screened by 2 of the authors who then conducted a full-text review of selected articles. Sensitivity and specificity of immunohistochemistry expression in malignant glandular lesions of the cervix classified per WHO 2003 compared with 5 benign comparators (normal/benign endocervix, and benign endocervical, endometrioid, gastric, and mesonephric lesions) were calculated. Of 902 abstracts screened, 154 articles were selected for full review. Twenty-five articles with results for 36 biomarkers were included. The only biomarker with enough studies for a meta-analysis was p16 and the definition of positive p16 staining among them was variable. Nevertheless, any positive p16 expression was sensitive, ranging from 0.94 to 0.98 with narrow confidence intervals (CIs), for adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS) and mucinous adenocarcinomas in comparison with normal/benign endocervix and benign endocervical and endometrioid lesions. Specificity for AIS and mucinous adenocarcinomas was also high with narrow CIs compared with benign endocervical lesions. The specificity was high for AIS, 0.99 (0.24, 1.0), and mucinous adenocarcinoma, 0.95 (0.52, 1.0), compared with normal/benign endocervix but with wider CIs, and low with very wide CIs compared with benign endometrioid lesions: 0.31 (0.00, 0.99) and 0.34 (0.00, 0.99), respectively. Results from single studies showed that p16, p16/Ki67 dual stain, ProExC, CEA, ESA, HIK1083, Claudin 18, and ER loss in perilesional stromal cells were useful with high (≥0.75) sensitivity and specificity estimates in ≥1 malignant versus benign comparisons. None of the biomarkers had highly useful sensitivity and specificity estimates for AIS, mucinous adenocarcinomas, or minimal deviation adenocarcinoma/gastric adenocarcinoma compared with benign gastric or mesonephric lesions or for mesonephric carcinoma compared with normal/benign endocervix, benign endocervical, endometrial, or mesonephric lesions. Any expression of p16 supports a diagnosis of AIS and mucinous adenocarcinomas in comparison with normal/benign endocervix and benign endocervical lesions. The majority of studies did not separate mosaic/focal p16 staining from diffuse staining as a distinct pattern of p16 overexpression and this may have contributed to the poor performance of p16 in distinguishing AIS and mucinous adenocarcinomas from benign endometrioid lesions. Single studies support further investigation of 8 additional biomarkers that have highly useful sensitivity and specificity estimates for ≥1 malignant glandular lesions compared with ≥1 of the 5 benign comparators.

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