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Histopathology. 2014 Mar;64(4):547-56. doi: 10.1111/his.12278. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

BAI3, CDX2 and VIL1: a panel of three antibodies to distinguish small cell from large cell neuroendocrine lung carcinomas.

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Department of Pathology, Dow International Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan; Department of Pathology, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, UK; Divisions of Reproduction and Metabolic and Vascular Health, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK.



Discriminating small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) from large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) rests on morphological criteria, and reproducibility has been shown to be poor. We aimed to identify immunohistochemical markers to assist this diagnosis.


Gene expression profiling on laser captured frozen tumour samples from eight SCLC and eight LCNEC tumours identified a total of 888 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), 23 of which were validated by qRT-PCR. Antibodies to four selected gene products were then evaluated as immunohistochemical markers on a cohort of 173 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) SCLC/LCNEC tumour samples, including 26 indeterminate tumours without a consensus diagnosis. Three markers, CDX2, VIL1 and BAI3, gave significantly different results in the two tumour types (P < 0.0001): CDX2 and VIL1 in combination (either marker positive) showed sensitivity and specificity of 81% for LCNEC while BAI3 showed 89% sensitivity and 75% specificity for SCLC. Of the 26 indeterminate tumours 15 (58%) showed an immunophenotype suggesting either SCLC or LCNEC, eight (31%) showed staining of both tumour types, and three (11%) were negative for all markers.


A panel of three markers, BAI3, CDX2 and VIL1, is a useful adjunct in the diagnosis of these tumour types.


BAI3; CDX2; VIL1; biomarkers; gene expression profiling; immunohistochemistry; large-cell neuroendocrine lung carcinoma; small-cell lung carcinoma

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