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Barth, Isabella; Schneider, Ursula; Grimm, Tobias; Karl, Alexander; Horst, David; Gaisa, Nadine T.; Knüchel, Ruth; Garczyk, Stefan (2018): Progression of urothelial carcinoma in situ of the urinary bladder: a switch from luminal to basal phenotype and related therapeutic implications. In: Virchows Archiv, Vol. 472, No. 5: pp. 749-758
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Abstract

The stratification of bladder cancer into luminal and basal tumors has recently been introduced as a novel prognostic system in patient cohorts of muscle-invasive bladder cancer or high-grade papillary carcinomas. Using a representative immunohistochemistry panel, we analyzed luminal and basal marker expression in a large case series (n = 156) of urothelial carcinoma in situ (CIS), a precancerous lesion that frequently progresses to muscle-invasive disease. The majority of CIS cases was characterized by a positivity for luminal markers (aberrant cytokeratin (CK) 20 85% (132/156), GATA3 median Remmele score (score of staining intensity (0-3) multiplied with percentage of positive cells (0-4)): 12, estrogen receptor (ER) beta Remmele score > 2: 88% (138/156), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her2) Dako score 3+ 32% (50/156), Her2 Dako score 2+ 33% (51/156)), and marginal expression of basal markers (CK5/6+ 2% (3/156), CK14+ 1% (2/156)). To further investigate phenotypic stability during disease progression, we compared 48 pairs of CIS and invasive tumors from the same biopsy. A highly significant loss of luminal marker expression (p < 0.001) was observed in the course of progression whereas an increase of basal marker expression (p < 0.01) was noted in the invasive compartment. Importantly, 91% of CIS cases demonstrated a positivity for at least one of the two predictive markers Her2 and ER beta, indicating that the analysis of Her2 and ER beta may help to identify CIS-patient subgroups prone to more efficient targeted treatment strategies. Larger prospective and biomarker-embedded clinical trials are needed to confirm and validate our preliminary findings.