Context: The lung is the most common site of metastasis during the natural history of malignant tumors. Breast carcinoma has a propensity for distant metastasis, and the lung and pleura are among the most common metastatic sites. Although it is often difficult to make a clear-cut differential diagnosis between the two, distinguishing primary lung carcinoma from breast carcinoma metastatic to the lung is important because the treatment modalities are different.
Objective: To elucidate the utility of mammaglobin and gross cystic disease fluid protein 15 (GCDFP-15), which are known to be breast-specific antigens, in distinguishing various primary lung and pleural tumors from breast carcinoma metastasizing to the lung.
Design: A total of 20 cases of breast carcinoma metastatic to the lung and 263 tumors of nonbreast origin located in the lung and pleura were analyzed.
Results: Of the 20 cases of breast carcinoma metastatic to the lung, 10 (50.0%) were immunoreactive for mammaglobin and 9 (45.0%) for GCDFP-15, the frequency of positivity being slightly higher for the former than for the latter. The area immunopositive for mammaglobin showed more diffuse staining than the area immunopositive for GCDFP-15. Furthermore, the specificity of mammaglobin for breast carcinoma metastatic to the lung was superior (98.9%) to that of GCDFP-15 (91.8%).
Conclusion: The sensitivity of mammaglobin is equal or superior to that of GCDFP-15 for investigation of breast carcinoma. Immunopositivity for mammaglobin is more diffuse than that for GCDFP-15. In terms of practical diagnosis, mammaglobin immunohistochemistry can serve as a differential marker of breast carcinoma and should be added to the immunohistochemical panel.