Pathologic characteristics of NUT midline carcinoma arising in the mediastinum

Am J Surg Pathol. 2012 Aug;36(8):1222-7. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e318258f03b.


NUT midline carcinomas (NMCs) comprise a group of highly aggressive tumors that have been reported primarily in the head, neck, and mediastinum of younger individuals. These tumors overexpress the nuclear protein in the testis (NUT), most commonly due to a chromosomal translocation that fuses the NUT gene on chromosome 15 with the BRD4 gene on chromosome 19. Although the earliest recognized cases were described in the thymus or mediastinum, an extensive survey for NMCs among malignant thymic or other mediastinal neoplasms has not been reported. We examined NUT expression in 114 cases of poorly differentiated carcinomas or unclassified mediastinal malignancies using a clinically validated NUT-specific monoclonal antibody. Four of 114 (3.5%) cases showed nuclear NUT expression. A NUT translocation was confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization in 3 of these cases. These tumors arose in 2 men and 2 women with a median age of 50 years (range, 28 to 68 y). Three of the tumors were originally diagnosed as undifferentiated epithelioid or round cell malignant neoplasms; 1 tumor contained focal squamous differentiation and was originally diagnosed as a poorly differentiated squamous carcinoma of probable thymic origin. We find that the incidence of NMC within the mediastinum, particularly among undifferentiated tumors, is similar to that reported at other anatomic sites. NMC should be considered in the differential diagnosis of any poorly differentiated epithelioid mediastinal tumor, regardless of age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mediastinal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Mediastinal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Mediastinal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics*


  • NUTM1 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins