MUC4 expression in non-small cell lung carcinomas: Relationship to tumor histology and patient survival

Kun Y. Kwon, Jae Y. Ro, Nicholas Singhal, Deanna E. Killen, Anna Sienko, Timothy C. Allen, Dani S. Zander, Roberto Barrios, Abida Haque, Philip T. Cagle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Context.-Mucin 4 (MUC4) is a high-molecular-weight membrane-bound glycoprotein that is expressed in the foregut before epithelial differentiation. It is found in normal adult airway epithelium, non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and in other human malignancies independent of mucus secretion. Although its tissue distribution has been studied, its utility in predicting prognosis in NSCLC is unknown. Objective.-To evaluate the relationship between MUC4 overexpression and long-term survival in patients with NSCLC. Design.-Immunohistochemical staining for MUC4 was performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 343 cases of NSCLC arranged in a high-density tissue microarray. Information about long-term survival and tumor stage was collected for all patients. Semi-quantitative assessment of MUC4 staining was correlated with survival (Kaplan-Meier analysis). Results.-MUC4 was frequently expressed in adenocarcinomas (151/187 [81%]), squamous cell carcinomas (69/88 [78%]), adenosquamous carcinomas (6/8 [75%]), and large cell carcinomas (33/60 [55%]). High levels of expression (combined score, 2+/3+) for MUC4 were more characteristic of adenocarcinomas (126/187 [68%]) and adenosquamous carcinomas (6/8 [75%]) than of squamous cell carcinomas (46/88 [52%]) and large cell carcinomas (17/60 [28%]) (P < .001). In patients with stage I and II adenocarcinoma, there was a trend toward longer patient survival with higher levels of MUC4 immunoreactivity compared with lower levels (P = .11). Conclusion.-MUC4 expression is common in pulmonary adenocarcinomas and may indicate a more favorable prognosis in early-stage adenocarcinomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-598
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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