Human Pathology 2015 July 21 [Epub ahead or print] [Link]

McGregor SM, Dunning R, Hyjek E, Vigneswaran W, Husain AN, Krausz T.


BRCA-associated protein 1 (BAP1) has emerged as a promising biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Loss of BAP1 expression can occur by a variety of mechanisms, but reports on incidence are variable and the clinical significance is unclear. In order to investigate the diagnostic and prognostic significance of BAP1, we constructed a tissue microarray consisting of 111 MPM cases and performed BAP1 immunohistochemistry. BAP1 was lost in 77% of epithelioid cases (n=58) but was retained in all sarcomatoid cases (n=10); 49% of biphasic cases showed loss (n=43), and BAP1-negative cases demonstrated loss of staining in both the epithelioid and sarcomatoid components. All non-neoplastic mesothelial tissues (n=20) retained BAP1, resulting in a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of 61%, 100%, 100%, and 32%, respectively. Moreover, BAP1 expression in spindled mesothelium enabled discrimination of reactive and malignant cells, thus providing a more objective means of distinguishing epithelioid from biphasic morphology compared to histology alone. Nonetheless, BAP1 staining was patchy in some benign mesothelial neoplasms, which raises concern for using BAP1 in small biopsies. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated a significant improvement in overall survival with BAP1 loss, but this did not reach significance in multivariate analysis accounting for histologic subtype. When only epithelioid cases were analyzed there was a trend toward increased survival, but it did not reach significance. We conclude that BAP1 loss is frequent in epithelioid MPM, which is in turn associated with improved survival, and that it can have additional clinical significance by facilitating histologic classification.