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PLoS One. 2010 Aug 17;5(8):e12209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012209.

The use of P63 immunohistochemistry for the identification of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Dianas Terapéuticas, Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal, Hospital Universitario Madrid Sanchinarro, Universidad San Pablo-CEU, Madrid, Spain.



While some targeted agents should not be used in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), other agents might preferably target SCCs. In a previous microarray study, one of the top differentially expressed genes between adenocarcinomas (ACs) and SCCs is P63. It is a well-known marker of squamous differentiation, but surprisingly, its expression is not widely used for this purpose. Our goals in this study were (1) to further confirm our microarray data, (2) to analize the value of P63 immunohistochemistry (IHC) in reducing the number of large cell carcinoma (LCC) diagnoses in surgical specimens, and (3) to investigate the potential of P63 IHC to minimize the proportion of "carcinoma NOS (not otherwise specified)" in a prospective series of small tumor samples.


With these goals in mind, we studied (1) a tissue-microarray comprising 33 ACs and 99 SCCs on which we performed P63 IHC, (2) a series of 20 surgically resected LCCs studied for P63 and TTF-1 IHC, and (3) a prospective cohort of 66 small thoracic samples, including 32 carcinoma NOS, that were further classified by the result of P63 and TTF-1 IHC.


The results in the three independent cohorts were as follows: (1) P63 IHC was differentially expressed in SCCs when compared to ACs (p<0.0001); (2) half of the 20 (50%) LCCs were positive for P63 and were reclassified as SCCs; and (3) all P63 positive cases (34%) were diagnosed as SCCs.


P63 IHC is useful for the identification of lung SCCs.

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