Value of thyroid transcription factor-1, E-cadherin, BG8, WT1, and CD44S immunostaining in distinguishing epithelial pleural mesothelioma from pulmonary and nonpulmonary adenocarcinoma

Am J Surg Pathol. 2000 Apr;24(4):598-606. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200004000-00016.


The distinction between malignant pleural mesotheliomas and adenocarcinomas, particularly those originating in the lung, is a difficult diagnostic problem that can be facilitated by the use of immunohistochemical markers. In this study, the immunoreactivity of thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1), E-cadherin, BG8, WT1, and CD44S was investigated in 50 epithelial mesotheliomas, and 40 pulmonary and 95 nonpulmonary adenocarcinomas. After analyzing the results, it was concluded that E-cadherin and BG8 are useful markers for distinguishing between epithelial mesotheliomas and adenocarcinomas of various origins, including the lung. Because TTF-1 expression is found almost exclusively in adenocarcinomas of the lung but is absent in mesotheliomas, immunostaining for this marker is particularly useful for distinguishing between these two malignancies. Although WT1 immunostaining may also be useful, its value, as determined in this study, is lower than that reported by other investigators. CD44S immunostaining does not have any practical value in discriminating between epithelial mesothelioma and lung adenocarcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Cadherins / analysis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epithelial Cells / chemistry
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / analysis
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens / analysis
  • Lung Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Mesothelioma / chemistry
  • Mesothelioma / diagnosis*
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Pleural Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Thyroid Nuclear Factor 1
  • Transcription Factors / analysis
  • WT1 Proteins


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cadherins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens
  • Lewis Y antigen
  • NKX2-1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Thyroid Nuclear Factor 1
  • Transcription Factors
  • WT1 Proteins