Gremel G, Bergman J, Djureinovic D, Edqvist PH, Maindad V, Bharambe BM, Khan WA, Navani S, Elebro J, Jirström K, Hellberg D, Uhlén M, Micke P, Pontén F
Histopathology 64 (2) 293-305 [2014-01-00; online 2013-11-05]
Immunohistochemistry plays a pivotal role in cancer differential diagnostics. To identify the primary tumour from a metastasis specimen remains a significant challenge, despite the availability of an increasing number of antibodies. The aim of the present study was to provide evidence-based data on the diagnostic power of antibodies used frequently for clinical differential diagnostics. A tissue microarray cohort comprising 940 tumour samples, of which 502 were metastatic lesions, representing tumours from 18 different organs and four non-localized cancer types, was analysed using immunohistochemistry with 27 well-established antibodies used in clinical differential diagnostics. Few antibodies, e.g. prostate-specific antigen and thyroglobulin, showed a cancer type-related sensitivity and specificity of more than 95%. A majority of the antibodies showed a low degree of sensitivity and specificity for defined cancer types. Combinations of antibodies provided limited added value for differential diagnostics of cancer types. The results from analysing 27 diagnostic antibodies on consecutive sections of 940 defined tumours provide a unique repository of data that can empower a more optimal use of clinical immunohistochemistry. Our results highlight the benefit of immunohistochemistry and the unmet need for novel markers to improve differential diagnostics of cancer.