Secretagogin, a marker for neuroendocrine cells, is more sensitive and specific in large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma compared with the markers CD56, CgA, Syn and Napsin A

Yunlong Dong, Yongwen Li, Renwang Liu, Ying Li, Hongbing Zhang, Hongyu Liu, Jun Chen
Oncology Letters 2020, 19 (3): 2223-2230
A common method to distinguish large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) from non-neuroendocrine large cell carcinoma (non-NE LCC) is from using specific immunohistochemistry markers, such as CgA, Syn, CD56 and Napsin A, however, the results remain controversial using these markers. Secretagogin (SCGN) is a newly discovered biomarker of neuroendocrine cells. In the present study, the expression of SCGN in 33 cases of human lung large cell carcinoma (LCC), including 17 cases of LCNEC and 16 cases of non-neuroendocrine (NE) LCC and lung cancer cell lines (A549, H1650, H358, H292 and H661). The association between SCGN expression and the clinicopathological characteristics of patients, including sex, age, clinical stage and metastasis, was analyzed. The results revealed that the different lung cancer cell lines had different expression levels of SCGN, and the SCGN protein was localized in the nucleus and cytoplasm of A549 cells detected using immunofluorescence. A total of 54.5% (18/33) of specimens positively expressed the SCGN protein. Of the 17 patients with LCNEC, only 23.5% (4/17) of cases were CgA positive, 35.29% (6/17) were Syn positive, 41.2% (7/17) were CD56 positive, and 41.2% (7/17) were Napsin A positive. However, SCGN was positively detected in 94.1% (16/17) of patients with LCNEC, which was more frequent compared with that in CgA, Syn, CD56 and Napsin A. Analysis of the clinical characteristics indicated that SCGN expression was only significantly associated with pathological type in patients with lung cancer (P<0.001). Furthermore, a positive correlation was observed between SCGN expression and CgA, Syn, and CD56 expression in patients with LCNEC. SCGN was co-localized with the NE markers (CgA, Syn, and CD56) in A549 lung cancer cells and in LCNEC tissues. Thus, SCGN displayed more sensitivity and specificity in lung cancer cells with NE differentiation. A combined analysis of SCGN and other common NE markers may be a potential tool for diagnosing these tumors.

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