Diagnostic work-up of carcinoma of unknown primary: from immunohistochemistry to molecular profiling

Oien, K.A. and Dennis, J.L. (2012) Diagnostic work-up of carcinoma of unknown primary: from immunohistochemistry to molecular profiling. Annals of Oncology, 23(Sup 10), x271-x277. (doi: 10.1093/annonc/mds357)

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Carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) remains a common and challenging clinical problem. The aim of diagnostic work-up in CUP is to classify as specifically as possible the cancer affecting the patient, according to the broad tumour type, subtype and, where possible, site of origin. This classification currently best predicts patient outcome and guides optimal treatment. a stepwise approach to diagnostic work-up is described. although pathology is based on morphology, the assessment of tissue-specific genes through immunohistochemistry (IHC) substantially helps tumour classification at each diagnostic step. For IHC in CUP, recent improvements include more standardised approaches and marker panels plus new markers. Tissue-specific genes are also being used in CUP work-up through molecular profiling. Large-scale profiles of hundreds of tumours of different types have been generated, compared and used to generate diagnostic algorithms. Commercial tests for CUP classification have been developed at the mRNa and microRNa (miRNa) levels and validated in metastatic tumours and CUPs. While currently optimal pathology and IHC remain the ‘gold standard’ for CUP diagnostic work-up, and full clinical correlation is vital, the molecular tests appear to perform well: in the main diagnostic challenge of undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tumours, molecular profiling performs as well as or better than IHC.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Oien, Professor Karin
Authors: Oien, K.A., and Dennis, J.L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Annals of Oncology

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