Background: The introduction of new therapies has made it important to differentiate between adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. To allow the use of various immunocytochemical stains on limited materials, we tried transferring cells from a given smear to multiple slides. Using touch-preparation samples of 215 surgically resected non-small cell lung carcinomas of confirmed histologic classification (adenocarcinoma,n = 101; squamous cell carcinoma,n = 114), we performed immunocytochemistry for thyroid transcription factor-1, napsin A, p40, p63, CK5/6 and desmocollin-3, and compared cytologic staining results with the corresponding resection. Methods: We examined: (a) the expressions of the above 6 antibodies on cells transferred from touch imprints of resected specimens, the extent of staining being considered positive if more than 5% of the area was stained, and (b) the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value for each antibody. Results: The histologic corresponding rate with Papanicolaou staining was only 73%. Regarding the differentiation of adenocarcinoma from squamous cell carcinoma, the sensitivity and specificity for napsin A in adenocarcinoma were 80 and 97%, respectively, while those for p40 in squamous cell carcinoma were 84 and 98%, respectively. Conclusion: The immunocytochemical expressions of napsin A and p40 in imprint cytology seem to be of great utility for the accurate histological differentiation of lung cancers.

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