SCCRO expression correlates with invasive progression in bronchioloalveolar carcinoma.
BACKGROUND: Overexpression of squamous cell carcinoma-related oncogene (SCCRO) is associated with invasive progression and poor outcomes in non-small cell lung cancer. We assessed the role of SCCRO as a tumor marker in bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC), a subtype of adenocarcinoma exhibiting evidence of histologic tumor progression. We hypothesized that SCCRO expression would correlate with invasive tumor phenotypes and worse survival in BAC. METHODS: We classified 150 tumors as pure BAC, BAC with focal invasion, or adenocarcinoma with BAC features. A tissue microarray was constructed from areas of benign lung, BAC, and invasive adenocarcinoma in these tumors. Squamous cell carcinoma-related oncogene expression was graded by immunohistochemistry from 0 to 3 (absent, low, moderate, or high), with positive SCCRO phenotype defined as grade 3. Squamous cell carcinoma-related oncogene specificity was determined by Wilcoxon rank test and area under the receiver-operator curve, survival by the Kaplan-Meier method, and correlation with prognostic factors by log-rank test. RESULTS: Of the 86.0% (129 of 150) of specimens suitable for analysis, positive SCCRO phenotype was seen in 16.3% (21 of 129) and was 100.0% specific for tumor versus benign tissue (area under receiver-operator curve, 0.92). Positive SCCRO phenotype was greater in tumors with increasing degrees of invasive histologic type (7.0% pure BAC, 13.6% BAC with focal invasion, and 28.6% adenocarcinoma with BAC features; p = 0.02). Low-level SCCRO expression was present in 83.9% (99 of 118) of benign tissues and correlated with tobacco use and poor survival (p = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Squamous cell carcinoma-related oncogene is a marker of invasive tumor progression in BAC. Low-level expression in adjacent benign lung predicts worse survival, and may represent field cancerization or host-tumor effects.