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Immunohistochemical Profile for Unknown Primary Adenocarcinoma
Published: Friday, January 27, 2012
Author: Kenji Hashimoto et al.

by Kenji Hashimoto, Yuko Sasajima, Masashi Ando, Kan Yonemori, Akihiro Hirakawa, Koh Furuta, Hitoshi Tsuda, Yasuhiro Fujiwara


Development of tailored treatment based on immunohistochemical profiles (IPs) of tumors for cancers of unknown primary is needed.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We developed an algorithm based on primary known adenocarcinoma for testing sensitivity and specificity. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 71 patients of unfavorable subsets of unknown primary adenocarcinoma were obtained. We examined 15 molecular markers using the algorithm incorporating these IPs and classified the tumours into 9 subsets based on the primary tumour site. The sensitivity and specificity of this algorithm were 80.3% and 97.6%, respectively. Apparent primary sites were lung in 17 patients, digestive organs in 13, gynecological organs in 9, prostate in 7, liver or kidney in 6, breast in 4, urothelial organ in 2, biliary tract and pancreatic profile in none, and unclassified in 13. The response rate to chemotherapy was highest for the gynecological IPs. Patients with gynecological or lung cancer IPs had longer median progression-free survival than those with others: 11.2 months for gynecological IPs (p<0.001) and 6.8 months for lung IPs (p?=?0.05). Lung, digestive, prostate, and gynecological profiles were associated with significantly longer median survival time than the other profiles. Multivariate analysis confirmed that the IPs were independent prognostic factors for survival.


The IPs identified in this study can be used to further stratify patient prognosis for unfavorable subsets of unknown primary adenocarcinoma.