Prognostic value of genetically diagnosed lymph node micrometastasis in non-small cell lung carcinoma cases

Takehisa Hashimoto, Yasuhito Kobayashi, Yuichi Ishikawa, Shigehiro Tsuchiya, Sakae Okumura, Ken Nakagawa, Yoshio Tokuchi, Moriaki Hayashi, Kazunori Nishida, Shinichi Hayashi, Junichi Hayashi, Eiju Tsuchiya

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79 Citations (Scopus)


The predictive value of lymph node micrometastasis, detected by immunohistochemical or genetic methods, is well appreciated in terms of prognosis. However, a major problem is high false-positive rates, because most methods focus on cytokeratin, which is a component not only of carcinoma but also normal epithelial and nonepithelial cells. Mutant allele-specific amplification (MASA) can detect DNAs derived from cancer cells itself, reportedly with high sensitivity. It was, therefore, used with nested-PCR using p53 or K-ras mutation for analysis of lymph node micrometastasis in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients in the present study, in comparison with the immunohistochemical method using an anti-cytokeratin reagent for the same samples. Lymph nodes from 31 NSCLC patients with p53 and K-ras mutated tumors (30 and 1, respectively) staged as pathological (p)-T 1-4 N 0-1 and M 0 were examined. Genetic and immunohistochemical methods demonstrated positive reactions in 34 (15%) and 61 (27%) of 229 lymph nodes, respectively (9 cases, 29%, and 24 cases, 77%). The concordance with the two methods was 77%, but 13 (39%) of 34 genetically positive lymph nodes could not be detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Of 22 cases with p-N 0 disease, 6 (27%) were genetically positive in hilar and/or mediastinal lymph nodes, and 4 (67%) of them died after cancer relapse. In contrast, none of the patients without micrometastasis died of cancer (P < 0.001, log rank analysis). Of the same p-N 0 patients, 17 (77%) were positive by IHC, and 4 (24%) of them died of cancer, whereas 5 negative patients did not suffer cancer relapse. Survival did not significantly differ between cases positive and negative (P = 0.246) by IHC. According to the g-N (N factor restaged by a genetic method), patients with g-N 1 and g-N 2 disease had a shorter survival than those with g-N 0 disease (P = 0.042 and P < 0.001, respectively). However, no significant difference was observed with grading by IHC. Thus, detection of micrometastasis in regional lymph nodes with the MASA method, in other words with a carcinoma-specific marker, is of greater prognostic significance for early stage NSCLC patients than immunohistochemical results. This approach should facilitate selection of patients for whom postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy should be performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6472-6478
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Nov 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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