The distinction between pleural malignant mesothelioma and pleural infiltration by adenocarcinomas has complex therapeutic and medicolegal implications. Although the panel of adenocarcinoma-associated antibodies and one or two mesothelioma markers is useful in this purpose, most of these antibodies are not totally specific. We determined the diagnostic value of MUC4 immunostaining in this issue. MUC4 gene expression was also studied by in situ hybridization and RT-PCR. MUC4 is a membrane-bound mucin that has been suggested to be implicated in malignant progression in humans and rats. The MUC4 gene is expressed in various normal epithelial tissues of endodermic origin and carcinomas. In the respiratory tract, MUC4 transcripts have been detected in normal respiratory epithelium and lung carcinomas. MUC4 protein was expressed in 32 of 35 (91.4%) lung adenocarcinomas on paraffin-embedded tissue. None of the 41 malignant mesotheliomas nor the 32 cases of benign mesothelial cells expressed MUC4 at the protein and mRNA levels. We conclude that MUC4 is a very specific (100%) and sensitive (91.4%) marker of lung adenocarcinomas on paraffin-embedded tissue that could be useful in diagnostic practice in the distinction between malignant mesothelioma and adenocarcinoma.
- Differential diagnosis
- Malignant mesothelioma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine