Differential expression of immunohistochemical markers in primary lung and breast cancers enriched for triple-negative tumours.

PMID 26118394


In breast cancer patients presenting with a lung lesion, the distinction between lung and breast origin is clinically important. Lung and breast cancers are both CK7(+) /CK20(-) , so additional immunohistochemical markers are needed. We examined the expression of oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1), gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 (GCDFP-15), p63 and Wilms' tumour 1 (WT1) in a series of tissue microarrays comprising 266 non-small-cell lung cancers and 837 primary breast cancers enriched for triple-negative tumours (TNBC). Staining for ER, PR, TTF-1 and GCDFP-15 was present in 63%, 49%, 0% and 25% of breast and 6%, 9%, 59% and 1% of lung cancers, respectively. Strong staining for p63 was present in 63 (97%) lung squamous cell carcinomas and only eight (9%) TNBC. WT1 nuclear staining was rare; however, cytoplasmic staining was identified in 49 (40%) TNBC and 10 (5%) lung cancers. Cluster analysis segregated TNBC from lung cancers with TTF-1 and/or p63 staining favouring lung origin, and GCDFP-15 or WT1 staining favouring breast origin. Cancers negative for all four markers (17%) were 60% breast and 40% lung origin. An immunohistochemical panel incorporating ER, TTF-1, GCDFP-15, p63 and WT1 can help to distinguish lung cancer from metastatic breast cancer, including TNBC.