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Am J Clin Pathol. 2004 Dec;122(6):884-93.

TTF-1, cytokeratin 7, 34betaE12, and CD56/NCAM immunostaining in the subclassification of large cell carcinomas of the lung.

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University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.


We selected a 4-stain immunopanel including thyroid transcription factor (7ITF)-], cytokeratin (CK)7, 34betaE12, and CD56/neural cell adhesion molecule(NCAM) to subclassify a series of 45 pulmonary large cell carcinomas (LCCs) on bronchial biopsy. All cases consisted of a large tumor cell proliferation with abundant cytoplasm, vesicular nuclei, and prominent nucleoli. Immunohistochemically, 27 tumors (60%)were subclassified as adenocarcinoma (7TF-1 +/CK7+,24; CK7+ only, 3), 10 (22%) as squamous cell carcinoma (34betaE12+ only), and 4 (9%) as LCC with neuroendocrine differentiation (CD56+, variably stained with TTF-I and CK7, 34betaE12-). In 4 cases, the tumors coexpressed CK7 and 34betaE12 (3 cases) or were completely unstained (I case). Surgically resected tumors matched exactly with the corresponding original biopsy specimens in 21 of 23 cases; consistent CD56 expression was a reliable marker in confirming a diagnosis of large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma even on biopsy. Our results suggest that the proposed 4-stainset of commercially available markers might help subclassify LCC even in small biopsy material, validating expression-profiling studies aimed at lung cancer classification and permitting more consistent patient enrollment for trials with targeted treatments.

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