Diagnostic algorithm for detection of targetable driver mutations in lung adenocarcinomas: Comprehensive analyses of 205 cases with immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization methods

Hua Lin Kao, Yi Chen Yeh, Chin Hsuan Lin, Wei Fang Hsu, Wen Yu Hsieh, Hsiang Ling Ho, Teh Ying Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Analysis of the targetable driver mutations is now recommended in all patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma. Molecular-based methods are usually adopted, however, along with the implementation of highly sensitive and/or mutation-specific antibodies, immunohistochemistry (IHC) has been considered an alternative method for identifying driver mutations in lung adenocarcinomas. Materials and methods A total of 205 lung adenocarcinomas were examined for EGFR mutations and ALK and ROS1 rearrangements using real-time PCR, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and IHC in parallel. The performance of different commercially available IHC antibody clones toward targetable driver mutations was evaluated. The association between these driver mutations and clinicopathological characteristics was also analyzed. Results In 205 cases we studied, 58.5% were found to harbor EGFR mutations, 6.3% ALK rearrangements and 1.0% ROS1 rearrangements. Compared to molecular-based methods, IHC of EGFR mutations showed an excellent specificity but the sensitivity is suboptimal, while IHC of ALK and ROS1 rearrangements demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity. No significant difference regarding the performance of different antibody clones toward these driver mutations was observed, except that clone SP125 showed a higher sensitivity than 43B2 in the detection of p.L858R of EGFR. Conclusion In circumstances such as poor quality of nucleic acids or low content of tumor cells, IHC of EGFR mutation-specific antibodies could be used as an alternative method. Patients negative for EGFR mutations are subjected to further analysis on ALK and ROS1 rearrangements using IHC methods. Herein, we proposed a lung adenocarcinoma testing algorithm for the application of IHC in therapeutic diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalLung Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Driver mutations
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung adenocarcinoma
  • Molecular testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research

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