Loss of Methylthioadenosine Phosphorylase by Immunohistochemistry Is Common in Pulmonary Sarcomatoid Carcinoma and Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

American Journal of Clinical Pathology 2021 August 31 [Link]

Simone Terra, Anja C Roden 1, Eunhee S Yi, Marie Christine Aubry, Jennifer M Boland


Objectives: Differentiating malignant pleural mesothelioma from benign reactive mesothelial processes can be quite challenging. Ancillary tests such as BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) immunohistochemistry and p16 fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) are helpful tools to aid in this distinction. Immunohistochemistry for methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) has recently been proposed as an effective surrogate marker for p16 FISH and is an attractive alternative test due to shorter turnaround time. There are little data regarding the specificity of MTAP loss for mesothelioma or whether it may be useful to distinguish mesothelioma from the most common entity in the differential diagnosis, sarcomatoid carcinoma.

Methods: We studied well-characterized cases of sarcomatoid carcinoma (n = 34) and sarcomatoid mesothelioma (n = 62), which were stained for MTAP (clone 2G4) and BAP1 (clone C-4).

Results: Loss of MTAP expression was observed in 17 (50%) of 34 pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinomas; BAP1 expression was retained in all of the cases in which it was performed (n = 31). MTAP expression was lost in 38 (61%) of 62 sarcomatoid mesotheliomas; BAP1 was lost in 6 (10%) of 62. In the six cases with BAP1 loss, five also had loss of MTAP, while MTAP expression was retained in one.

Conclusions: Loss of MTAP expression by immunohistochemistry is common in pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma, as it is present in half of cases. This rate is similar to what is observed in sarcomatoid mesothelioma (61%). Therefore, this stain is not useful to distinguish between these two malignancies. MTAP loss is more common than BAP1 loss in the setting of sarcomatoid mesothelioma (61% vs 10%, respectively).