High-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas of the lung highly express enhancer of zeste homolog 2, but carcinoids do not.
Enhancer of zeste homolog 2, the catalytic subunit of polycomb repressive complex 2, is a histone methyltransferase and plays an important role in cell proliferation and cell cycle regulation. It has been shown to be overexpressed in a number of malignant neoplasms. This study aimed to determine the expression pattern of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 in neuroendocrine tumors of the lung and the potential of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 to serve as a biomarker to segregate carcinoids from high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas. Fifty-four cases, including 25 typical carcinoids, 7 atypical carcinoids, 9 large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas, and 13 small-cell lung carcinomas, were immunohistochemically studied using a monoclonal antibody against enhancer of zeste homolog 2. All 13 small-cell lung carcinomas demonstrated moderate to strong nuclear staining with 12 exhibiting more than 90% of tumor cells staining. All 9 large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas were moderately to strongly positive for enhancer of zeste homolog 2, with 6 cases having staining in more than 80% of tumor cells. In contrast, all 25 typical carcinoids and 6 atypical carcinoids showed only rare scattered enhancer of zeste homolog 2-positive tumor cells, with 1 case of atypical carcinoid exhibiting moderate staining in 40% of tumor cells. A subsequent validation study of the 14 specimens of lung or mediastinal lymph node biopsy and fine-needle aspiration, including 6 small-cell lung carcinomas, 2 large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas, 5 typical carcinoids, and 1 atypical carcinoid, was performed. Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 was diffusely and strongly positive in all small-cell lung carcinomas and large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas, even with severe crush artifact, whereas it was only positive in rare tumor cells in carcinoids. These findings support the formulation that enhancer of zeste homolog 2 may play an important role in the regulation of biologic behavior of high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas and as a diagnostically useful marker in distinguishing high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas from carcinoids.
Findeis-Hosey, JJ; Huang, J; Li, F; Yang, Q; McMahon, LA; Xu, H
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