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Claudins in differential diagnosis between mesothelioma and metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pleura
  1. Y Soini1,
  2. V Kinnula2,
  3. K Kahlos3,
  4. P Pääkkö1
  1. 1Department of Pathology, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Division, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  3. 3Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Division, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Y Soini
 Department of Pathology, Oulu Central University Hospital, OYS, PO Box 50, 90029 Oulu, Finland; ylermi.soini{at}


Aim: To study the expression of claudins in mesothelioma and metastatic pleural adenocarcinoma.

Methods: Immunohistochemical staining of claudins 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 was studied in 35 malignant mesotheliomas and the expression compared with 24 cases of pleural metastatic adenocarcinoma. All cases were also immunostained with calretinin.

Results: Claudin 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 expression was seen in 40%, 80%, 18%, 23%, 14%, and 43% of mesotheliomas, respectively, while the corresponding figures for adenocarcinoma were 100%, 88%, 90%, 100%, 50%, and 92%. Claudins 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 were significantly less positive in mesothelioma than in metastatic adenocarcinoma, while no difference was observed for claudin 2. Claudins 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 were also inversely associated with calretinin positivity. Sarcomatoid and biphasic mesothelioma subtypes appeared more negative for these claudins than pure epithelioid subtypes. Claudin expression was not associated with survival of patients with malignant mesotheliomas.

Conclusions: The results show that malignant mesotheliomas have a lower expression of claudins 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 than adenocarcinomas, and their expression could thus be used as an adjunct in differential diagnosis between the two. The difference was most evident for claudins 3 and 4, which were nearly as good as calretinin in mesothelioma detection. Sarcomatoid and biphasic mesotheliomas showed expression of these claudins only occasionally, which could be due to or contribute to their less epithelial appearance.

  • CEA, carcinoembryonic antigen
  • CK, cytokeratin
  • EMA, epithelial membrane antigen
  • claudin
  • mesothelioma
  • cancer
  • adhesion
  • tight junction

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