Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 8, pp 10917–10922 | Cite as

Significance and evaluation of anaplastic lymphoma kinase by immunohistochemistry in non-small cell lung cancer

  • Shuting Ding
  • Nan Liu
  • Huanyu Zhao
  • Guiyang Jiang
  • Xiupeng Zhang
  • Enhua Wang
Original Article


We used immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to evaluate anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) protein expression and gene rearrangements, respectively, in 283 cases of wild-type epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) non-small cell lung cancer biopsy specimens. Immunohistochemistry was positive for ALK in 52 cases (18.4 %), and there was no significant difference in staining between various monoclonal antibodies (Roche ALK test kit, D5F3, p-ALK, and EML4-ALK). On RT-PCR, 36 cases (12.7 %) were positive for ALK. Immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR were both positive in 35 cases and both negative in 230 cases, and both have a high consistency (265/283, 93.6 %). Including 17 cases, immunohistochemistry was positive but RT-PCR was negative, and in one case, immunohistochemistry was negative but RT-PCR was positive. On fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) testing of these 18 cases, only three cases were positive (one RT-PCR was positive; two immunohistochemistry were positive). There is a high prevalence of ALK positivity in wild-type EGFR non-small cell lung cancer. Immunohistochemistry for the detection of ALK gene rearrangements was highly consistent with RT-PCR, and thus, it is a good screening tool but produces false positive results that necessitate further screening by RT-PCR or FISH.


Immunohistochemistry Non-small cell lung cancer ALK 



This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81272606 to Enhua Wang)

Compliance with ethical standard

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuting Ding
    • 1
  • Nan Liu
    • 1
  • Huanyu Zhao
    • 1
  • Guiyang Jiang
    • 1
  • Xiupeng Zhang
    • 1
  • Enhua Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology, First Affiliated Hospital and College of Basic Medical SciencesChina Medical UniversityShenyangChina

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