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Hum Pathol. 2010 Jan;41(1):20-5. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2009.06.014. Epub 2009 Sep 8.

Napsin A and thyroid transcription factor-1 expression in carcinomas of the lung, breast, pancreas, colon, kidney, thyroid, and malignant mesothelioma.

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Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


Recent advances in the treatment of pulmonary adenocarcinoma have increased the need for accurate typing of non-small cell carcinomas. Immunohistochemistry for thyroid transcription factor-1 is widely used in the diagnosis of pulmonary adenocarcinomas because it marks approximately 75% of lung adenocarcinomas and is negative in most squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas of other organs. Napsin A is an aspartic proteinase involved in the maturation of surfactant protein B. It is detected in the cytoplasm of type 2 pneumocytes and alveolar macrophages and is a putative marker for pulmonary adenocarcinomas. We performed immunohistochemistry for napsin A and thyroid transcription factor-1 using tissue microarrays of 95 adenocarcinomas, 48 squamous cell carcinomas, 6 neuroendocrine tumors of the lung, as well as 5 colonic, 31 pancreatic, and 17 breast adenocarcinomas, 38 malignant mesotheliomas, 118 renal cell carcinomas, and 81 thyroid tumors. The tissue microarrays also included 15 different benign tissues. Pulmonary adenocarcinomas were napsin A positive in 79 (83%) of 95 cases compared with 69 (73%) of 95 cases that were thyroid transcription factor-1 positive. There were 13 napsin A-positive/thyroid transcription factor-1-negative and 2 thyroid transcription factor-1-positive/napsin A-negative tumors, increasing the number of cases that were positive with at least one of the markers to 81 (85%) of 95. The limited number of neuroendocrine tumors tested was napsin A negative. All squamous cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas of the colon, pancreas and breast, and mesotheliomas were negative for both markers. Of the renal tumors, napsin A was positive in most of papillary renal cell carcinomas (79%), about one third (34%) of clear cell renal cell carcinomas, and in a single case of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (3%). In the thyroid, only 2 cases of papillary thyroid carcinoma (5%), both with tall cell morphology, were positive for napsin A, whereas all other papillary and follicular carcinomas were negative. As expected, all renal tumors were thyroid transcription factor-1 negative, and all thyroid tumors, except for one papillary carcinoma, were thyroid transcription factor-1 positive. Napsin A is a sensitive marker for pulmonary adenocarcinoma and is also expressed in a subset of renal cell carcinomas, particularly of the papillary type, as well as in rare cases of papillary thyroid carcinomas. The combined use of napsin A and thyroid transcription factor-1 results in improved sensitivity and specificity for identifying pulmonary adenocarcinoma in primary lung tumors and in a metastatic setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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