Background: Differentiating reactive mesothelial cells from metastatic carcinoma in effusion cytology is a challenging task. The application of at least 4 monoclonal antibodies including 2 epithelial markers (Ber-EP4, MOC-31, CEA, or B72.3) and 2 mesothelial markers (calretinin, WT-1, CK5/6, or HBME-1) are often useful in this distinction; however, it is not readily available in many resource-limited developing countries. Aberrant immunoexpression of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), a transcriptional repressor involved in cancer progression, is observed widely in various malignancy. In this study, we evaluate the diagnostic value of EZH2 as a single reliable immunomarker for malignancy in effusion samples. Methods: A total of 108 pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial effusions/washings diagnosed as unequivocally reactive (n = 41) and metastatic carcinoma (n = 67) by cytomorphology over 18 months were reviewed. Among the metastatic carcinoma cases, 54 were adenocarcinoma and others were squamous cell carcinoma (n = 1), carcinosarcoma (n = 1), and carcinoma of undefined histological subtypes (n = 11). Cell block sections were immunostained by EZH2 (Cell Marque, USA). The percentages of EZH2-immunolabeled cells over the total cells of interest were calculated. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed to determine the optimal cut-off score to define EZH2 immunopositivity. Results: A threshold of 8% EZH2-immunolabeled cells allows distinction between malignant and reactive mesothelial cells, with 95.5% sensitivity, 100% specificity, 100% positive predictive value, and 93.2% negative predictive value (p < 0.0001). The area under the curve was 0.988. Conclusion: EZH2 is a promising diagnostic biomarker for malignancy in effusion cytology which is inexpensive yet trustworthy and could potentially be used routinely in countries under considerable economic constraints.

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