Reevaluation and reclassification of resected lung carcinomas originally diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma using immunohistochemical analysis
Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
Currently, non-small cell lung carcinomas are primarily classified by light microscopy. However, recent studies have shown that poorly differentiated tumors are more accurately classified by immunohistochemistry. In this study, we investigated the use of immunohistochemical analysis in reclassifying lung carcinomas that were originally diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma. Tumor slides and blocks were available for histologic evaluation, and tissue microarrays were constructed from 480 patients with resected lung carcinomas originally diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma between 1999 and 2009. Immunohistochemical analyses for p40, p63, thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1; clones SPT24 and 8G7G3/1), napsin A, chromogranin A, synaptophysin, and CD56 were performed. Staining intensity (weak, moderate, or strong) and distribution (focal or diffuse) were also recorded. Of all, 449 (93.5%) patients were confirmed as having squamous cell carcinomas; the cases were mostly diffusely positive for p40 and negative for TTF-1 (8G7G3/1). Twenty cases (4.2%) were reclassified as adenocarcinoma, as they were positive for TTF-1 (8G7G3/1 or SPT24) with either no or focal p40 expression, and all of them were poorly differentiated with squamoid morphology. In addition, 1 case was reclassified as adenosquamous carcinoma, 4 cases as large cell carcinoma, 4 cases as large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, and 2 cases as small cell carcinoma. In poorly differentiated non-small cell lung carcinomas, an accurate distinction between squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma cannot be reliably determined by morphology alone and requires immunohistochemical analysis, even in resected specimens. Our findings suggest that TTF-1 8G7G3/1 may be better suited as the primary antibody in differentiating adenocarcinoma from squamous cell carcinoma.