Context: Parafibromin, encoded by HRPT2, is the first marker with significant benefit in the diagnosis of parathyroid carcinoma. However, because parafibromin is only involved in up to 70% of parathyroid carcinomas and loss of parafibromin immunoreactivity may not be observed in all cases of HRPT2 mutation, a complementary marker is needed.
Objective: We sought to determine the efficacy of increased expression of protein gene product 9.5 (PGP9.5), encoded by ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal esterase L1 (UCHL1) as an additional marker to loss of parafibromin immunoreactivity for the diagnosis of parathyroid carcinoma.
Design: In total, 146 parathyroid tumors and nine normal tissues were analyzed for the expression of parafibromin and PGP9.5 by immunohistochemistry and for UCHL1 by quantitative RT-PCR. These samples included six hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumor syndrome-related tumors and 24 sporadic carcinomas.
Results: In tumors with evidence of malignancy, strong staining for PGP9.5 had a sensitivity of 78% for the detection of parathyroid carcinoma and/or HRPT2 mutation and a specificity of 100%. Complete lack of nuclear parafibromin staining had a sensitivity of 67% and a specificity of 100%. PGP9.5 was positive in a tumor with the HRPT2 mutation L64P that expressed parafibromin. Furthermore, UCHL1 was highly expressed in the carcinoma/hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumor syndrome group compared to normal (P < 0.05) and benign specimens (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: These results suggest that positive staining for PGP9.5 has utility as a marker for parathyroid malignancy, with a slightly superior sensitivity (P = 0.03) and similar high specificity to that of parafibromin.