Mismatch repair genes encode for proteins responsible for the correction of bases incorrectly paired in the DNA. Loss of DNA mismatch repair activity has been associated with various cancers including tumors of the lung. In the present study, we have analyzed by immunocytochemistry the expression of MSH2 DNA repair gene in cytological material obtained by fine needle aspiration from a panel of 42 primary lung cancer patients. Specimens included 13 adenocarcinomas, 11 small cell carcinomas and 18 squamous cell carcinomas. Loss of expression or low expression was detected in 6 out of 13 (46%) adenocarcinomas and in 7 out of 18 (39%) of squamous cell carcinomas, although all 11 small cell carcinomas expressed MSH2. Our results suggest that loss of MSH2 expression is frequent in nonsmall cell carcinomas of the lung (P < 0.01, chi2 test). Evaluation of MSH2 expression can be applied for the screening of cytological material from fine needle aspirations from the lung.
Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.