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Lung Cancer. 2004 May;44(2):149-57.

The utility and limitation of thyroid transcription factor-1 protein in primary and metastatic pulmonary neoplasms.

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Department of Pathology, National Taiwan University Hospital and College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


Thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1) is a tissue-specific transcription factor expressed in the thyroid and lung. The clinical utility and limitation of TTF-1 in primary or metastatic carcinomas of the lung have not been previously studied in detail. We examined TTF-1 expression in 510 primary lung and 107 metastatic neoplasms. TTF-1 was detectable in 4/99 (4%) squamous cell carcinomas, 169/176 (96%) solitary adenocarcinomas, 34/34 (100%) multifocal adenocarcinomas, 1/1 (100%) signet ring cell carcinoma, 16/20 (80%) mucinous adenocarcinomas, 23/23 (100%) nonmucinous bronchioloalveolar carcinomas, 19/36 (53%) small cell carcinomas, and 39/44 (89%) sclerosing hemangioma. TTF-1 was absent in all eight carcinoids, three atypical carcinoids, 23 pleomorphic carcinomas, 25 lymphoepithelioma-like carcinomas, the sarcomatous component of one pseudomesotheliomatous carcinoma, and one mesothelioma. In four combined small cell carcinomas and 12 adenosquamous carcinomas, TTF-1 expression was only demonstrated in the adenocarcinoma component. There were 78 TTF-1 non-immunoreactive metastatic cases from 22 livers, 20 colorectums, 10 breasts, six nasopharynx, four larynx, four ovaries, three salivary glands, three esophagus, two adrenal glands, two kidneys, one bile duct, and one endometrium. TTF-1 was also detected in all 10 cervical lymph nodes, seven brain, and 6/7 (86%) bony tissues of 24 patients with metastatic carcinomas of unknown primary site, but it was absent in 125 patients with metastatic carcinomas other than lung origin in cervical lymph nodes, brain, and bony tissues. These results indicate the clinical usefulness and limitation in certain primary and metastatic lung neoplasms.

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