Background: The expression profile of immunohistochemical markers of origin in poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma (PDNEC) is not well studied. Materials and methods: Seventy-four PDNECs from gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) organs and the lung, including 48 large cell NEC (LCNEC) and 26 small cell carcinomas (SmCC), were subject to immunohistochemical staining for CDX2, TTF1 and ISL1. The staining intensity (1 to 3) and percentage of positive tumor cells [0 (negative), 1 (<50%) and 2 (≥50%)] were assessed. The multiplicative index (maximum 6) was calculated and the average total score (aTS) was determined for each primary site and histologic subtype. Results: In the 38 GEP and 36 lung PDNECs, CDX2, TTF1 and ISL1 staining was observed in 71% (aTS 2.8), 16% (aTS 0.4), 63% (aTS 1.9), and 22% (aTS 0.6), 72% (aTS 2.9) and 92% (aTS 3.8), respectively. GEP PDNECs showed a higher aTS for CDX2 and lower aTS for TTF1 and ISL1, compared to that of lung PDNECs (Student's t-test, p < 0.001). SmCC had a higher aTS for TTF1 and ISL1 (p < 0.001) and lower aTS for CDX2 (p < 0.002) than that of LCNEC. Conclusions: CDX2 and TTF1 demonstrate potential utility in suggesting the primary site of PDNEC. In addition, CDX2 may be useful in supporting the diagnosis of LCNEC in cases with overlapping or borderline morphology. Utility of ISL1 as an adjunctive diagnostic marker of SmCC remains to be studied.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine