INTRODUCTION: Serous effusion is often the first sign of mesothelioma. Diagnosis based on cytologic material from the effusions remains controversial and complementary biopsy is usually required. However, obtaining representative tissue sample may be challenging, while obtaining cytologic material is a minimally invasive procedure, providing potential for an earlier diagnosis. Loss of BRCA1-associated protein (BAP1), combined with loss of methylthionadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) detected by immunohistochemistry, have shown to be reliable markers in the diagnosis of mesothelioma on histologic sections. Here we evaluate the value of these biomarkers in cytologic specimens.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The BAP1 and MTAP expression in specimens of 162 mesothelioma patients (156 pleural, 6 peritoneal)-71 cytologic, 91 histologic (44 epithelioid, 31 biphasic, 16 sarcomatoid)-and 20 patients with reactive mesothelial proliferations were investigated.
RESULTS: The loss of BAP1 and/or MTAP was highly sensitive and specific in differentiating mesothelioma from reactive mesothelial proliferations, with no significant difference between pleural effusions and biopsies, specificity of 100% in both and a sensitivity of 78.9% and 80.2%, respectively (P = 0.3). There was a 100% concordance of the expression of BAP1 and MTAP in cytologic and corresponding histopathologic samples. Loss of BAP1 and/or MTAP in histologic sections discriminated sarcomatoid, biphasic, and epithelioid mesothelioma from reactive mesothelial proliferations with a sensitivity of 81.2%, 83.9%, and 77.3% respectively.
CONCLUSION: Loss of expression of BAP1 and/or MTAP differentiated mesothelioma from reactive mesothelial proliferations with excellent specificity and high sensitivity in cytologic samples, comparable to histopathologic sections.