Comprehensive molecular analyses of urothelial bladder cancer (UBC) have defined distinct subtypes with potential therapeutic implications. In this study, we focused on micropapillary urothelial carcinoma (MPUC), an aggressive, histomorphologically defined rare variant. Apart from genetic alterations shared with conventional UBC, alterations of the HER2 gene have been reported in higher frequencies. However, only small cohorts of MPUCs have been analyzed, and the real impact is still unclear. We collected a cohort of 94 MPUCs and immunohistochemically tested HER2, basal (CD44, CK5, EGFR, p63) and luminal (CD24, FOXA1, GATA3, CK20) markers to allocate MPUC to a molecular subtype. Additionally, HER2 amplification status was assigned by chromogenic in situ hybridization. Sanger sequencing of exon 4 and 8 was used to test for HER2 mutations. Kruskal-Wallis test was calculated to compare marker distribution between proportions of the MPUC component. HER2 2+/3+ staining scores were identified in 39.6% of 91 analyzed MPUCs and were not differentially distributed among the proportion of the MPUC component (P = .89). Additionally, CISH analysis revealed 30% of HER2-amplified tumors independently of the MPUC fraction. In 6/90 evaluable MPUCs, a p.S310F HER2 mutation was detected. Overexpression of luminal markers was observed in the majority of MPUC. Our investigations of the largest cohort of analyzed MPUC demonstrate that HER2 overexpression and amplifications are common genetic alterations and identification of overexpressed luminal markers allows subclassification to the luminal subtype. These findings highlight the need of histomorphological recognition of MPUC and analysis of HER2 status and the luminal molecular subtype for potential targeted therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: HER2; Micropapillary variant; Molecular subtype; Targeted therapy; Urothelial bladder cancer.
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