NUT carcinoma of the thorax is a rare and very aggressive tumor, whose definition is based on the demonstration of a nuclear protein in testis (NUTM1; also known as NUT) gene fusion on 15q14 with different partners from the bromodomain-containing proteins gene family. This fusion results in an activation of MYC oncoprotein responsible for the tumor's aggressivity. NUT carcinoma arises preferentially in young adults, presenting a large thoracic mass frequently associated with lymph nodes, bone or pleural metastases. At histology, this tumor is often poorly differentiated, mainly composed of sheets of small cells with scant cytoplasm, a round nucleus with a central nucleolus. Focal areas of squamous differentiation can be observed. Mitoses and necrosis are frequent, as well as neutrophilic infiltrate. The diagnosis is based on the detection of NUT protein expression by immunohistochemistry using the rabbit monoclonal antibody C52B1 in more than 50% of the tumor nuclei. This technique offers 87% sensitivity and nearly 100% specificity with reference to FISH or RT-PCR, which confirm the NUTM1 rearrangement. The differential diagnoses include basaloid carcinoma of the lung, small cell carcinoma, thymic carcinoma (basaloid variant), SMARCA4_deficient thoracic sarcoma, other NUTM1 rearranged undifferentiated tumors, small round cell tumors, non-Hodgkin lymphoma/leukemia, and melanoma. The prognosis of NUT carcinoma remains very poor, with a median survival of 6.7 months, and 1- and 2-year overall survival rates of 30% and 19%, respectively. NUT carcinoma is often refractory to conventional chemotherapy, but ifosfamide-based regimens or BET inhibitors could represent promising therapies.
Keywords: Bromodomain; Carcinoma; NUT; NUTM1; Rearrangement; Thorax.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.