Context: TTF-1 and napsin A immunomarkers have a crucial role in differentiating lung adenocarcinoma from lung squamous cell carcinoma and in identifying a primary lung adenocarcinoma when working on a tumor of unknown origin.
Objectives: To investigate the diagnostic sensitivity of ribonucleic acid in situ hybridization (RNAscope) in the detection of expression of these biomarkers in lung adenocarcinomas and to compare RNAscope to immunohistochemical techniques.
Design: Both RNAscope and the immunohistochemical assays for TTF-1 and napsin A were performed on tissue microarray sections containing 80 lung adenocarcinomas and 80 lung squamous cell carcinomas. The RNAscope assay for both TTF-1 and napsin A was also performed on 220 adenocarcinomas from various organs.
Results: The RNAscope assay for TTF-1 gave positive results in 92.5% (74 of 80) of the lung adenocarcinomas; in contrast, immunohistochemistry gave positive results in 82.5% (66 of 80) of those cases. The RNAscope assay for napsin A gave positive results in 90% (72 of 80) of lung adenocarcinomas; immunohistochemistry results were positive in 77.5% (62 of 80) of those cases. Napsin A expression was not seen in lung squamous cell carcinomas by either method. In contrast, TTF-1 expression was seen in 3.8% (3 of 80) (1(+)) and 10% (8 of 80) (1(+)) of the squamous cell carcinomas by immunochemistry and the RNAscope, respectively. All nonpulmonary adenocarcinoma results were negative for TTF-1 by the RNAscope assay.
Conclusions: Preliminary data suggest that RNAscope is superior to immunohistochemistry in detecting TTF-1 and napsin A expression in primary lung adenocarcinomas. Therefore, performing an RNAscope assay may be considered for both TTF-1(-) and napsin A(-) cases with a clinical suspicion of lung adenocarcinoma. The TTF-1 results should be interpreted with caution because a small percentage of squamous cell carcinomas can be focally positive by either assay.