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Hum Pathol. 2014 Feb;45(2):294-302. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2013.09.005. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Immunohistochemical study of 36 cases of pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma--sensitivity of TTF-1 is superior to napsin.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. Electronic address:


Immunohistochemistry is often used to distinguish pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma from morphologic mimics. Napsin-A is a pulmonary adenocarcinoma marker, but literature on expression in sarcomatoid carcinoma is limited. Thirty-six cases of sarcomatoid carcinoma were stained for napsin, TTF-1, Oscar, CAM5.2, AE1/AE3, desmin, SMA, S-100, CK5/6, calretinin, D2-40, and WT1. Patients were 24 men and 12 women (mean, 70 years; range, 46-93). There were 27 pleomorphic carcinomas, 5 spindle cell carcinomas, 3 carcinosarcomas, and 1 giant cell carcinoma. Cases were positive for at least 1 keratin: AE1/3 was positive in all 36 cases; Oscar, in 34 cases (94%); and CAM5.2, in 32 cases (89%, weaker/more focal). Napsin was positive in 14 cases (39%): 8 diffuse, 3 focal, and 3 rare cells. TTF-1 was positive in 22 cases (61%): 15 diffuse, 3 focal, and 4 rare cells. No cases were napsin positive and negative for TTF-1. Variable staining for mesothelial markers was observed, including positivity for calretinin (12 cases, 33%), WT1 (6 cases, 17%), D2-40 (5 cases, 14%), and CK5/6 (9 cases, 25%). Mesenchymal markers were also sometimes positive (usually focal), including S-100 (4 cases, 11%), desmin (4 cases, 11%), and SMA (7 cases, 19%, 1 diffuse). In conclusion, TTF-1 is more sensitive than napsin for detection of sarcomatoid carcinoma, and no cases were positive for napsin but negative for TTF-1. CAM5.2 is less sensitive than AE1/AE3 and Oscar. Use of a thoughtful immunohistochemical panel is important in the evaluation of sarcomatoid carcinoma because mesothelial and mesenchymal markers can be expressed.


Lung sarcomatoid carcinoma; Napsin; TTF-1

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