Utility of TTF-1 and Napsin-A in the work-up of malignant effusions

Mohamed I El Hag, Lindsay Schmidt, Michael Roh, Claire W. Michael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Similar to TTF-1, Napsin-A is recently used increasingly to differentiate between pulmonary adenocarcinoma (P-ADC) and extra-pulmonary adenocarcinoma (EP-ADC). The aim of this study was to compare the performance of TTF-1 and Napsin-A in determining the primary origin of adenocarcinoma in malignant serous effusion. Methods Following IRB approval, cellblocks from 139 cases of malignant serous effusions of histologically or clinically determined origin including: 26 P-ADC, 108 EP-ADC, 2 pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma (P-SQC), and 3 pulmonary small cell carcinoma (P-SCC) were retrieved. Each case was stained with Napsin-A and TTF-1 and evaluated for positivity and intensity of staining. Results Napsin-A and TTF-1 stained positive in 17/26 (65%) and 14/26 (54%) of P-ADC and in 2/108 (1.8%) and 0/108 (0%) of EP-ADC with a PPV of 89 and 100%, respectively. In combination, they positively stained 18/26 (70%) of P-ADC with a PPV of 90%. Out of 9 poorly differentiated P-ADC, 7 (78%) stained positive for Napsin-A, while 4 (45%) were reactive for TTF-1. Both Napsin-A and TTF-1 were negative in P-SQC, while P-SCC reacted positively for TTF-1 in 2/3 (66%) of cases and none for Napsin-A. Conclusion Napsin-A and TTF-1 are both useful markers in distinguishing P-ADC from EP-ADC. However, Napsin-A performed better in poorly differentiated P-ADC and its mimickers. The nuclear staining of TTF-1 is crispier and much easier to interpret than Napsin-A cytoplasmic stain. An antibody panel including TTF-1 and Napsin-A or a dual stain will be very helpful in determining the origin of metastatic adenocarcinoma in serous effusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalDiagnostic Cytopathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Napsin-A
  • TTF-1
  • adenocarcinoma
  • lung
  • malignant effusion
  • serous effusion


Dive into the research topics of 'Utility of TTF-1 and Napsin-A in the work-up of malignant effusions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this