Napsin A is a highly sensitive marker for nephrogenic adenoma: an immunohistochemical study with a specificity test in genitourinary tumors

Nima Sharifai, Brooj Abro, Jie Fu Chen, Ming Zhao, Huiying He, Dengfeng Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Nephrogenic adenomas are uncommon benign lesions that are typically cytologically bland, but degenerative and reactive changes may make it difficult to distinguish these lesions from malignant entities, such as urothelial carcinoma and prostatic adenocarcinoma. In this study, we explored whether napsin A, a sensitive marker for lung adenocarcinoma, may also have a role in distinguishing nephrogenic adenoma from other genitourinary lesions. Immunohistochemically, napsin A was expressed in all 43 nephrogenic adenomas (bladder: 38, prostatic urethra: 4, and ureter: 1; mean positive tumor cells: 72%, median: 80%, range: 15–100%) and showed regional variability in its expression pattern with a bias toward surface architectures (flat, papillary) compared with stromal architectures (tubular/glandular, microcystic). We also compared napsin A with other markers including PAX8, GATA3, p63, and 34BE12. Although napsin A matched PAX8 in terms of its sensitivity for nephrogenic adenoma (100%), napsin A stained a lower percentage of tumor cells than PAX8 (72% vs 99%, respectively, P = 1.0 × 10−5). P63 was negative in all nephrogenic adenomas, whereas GATA3 showed variable staining in 25 cases (58%). All 43 nephrogenic adenomas showed variable 34BE12 staining. Finally, we profiled napsin A expression among 401 genitourinary tumors on tissue microarrays (n = 308) and full tissue blocks (N = 93) and observed napsin A positivity in 37 tumors (9%), which included urothelial carcinomas with the glandular/microcystic component differentiation (in the glandular/microcystic component in 4/6), bladder adenocarcinomas (primary: 4/4 and metastatic: 3/3), urinary tract clear-cell carcinomas (primary: 8/9, metastatic uterine primary: 1/1), and some renal tumors (17/174). All 81 pure urothelial carcinomas and 53 prostatic acinar adenocarcinomas were negative for napsin A. Our study indicates that napsin A is a highly sensitive marker for nephrogenic adenoma and can serve as a useful addition in immunohistochemical panels seeking to distinguish it from pure urothelial carcinoma and prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma but not clear-cell carcinoma or urothelial carcinoma with glandular differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Pathology
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Clear-cell carcinoma
  • Genitourinary tumors
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Napsin A
  • Nephrogenic adenoma


Dive into the research topics of 'Napsin A is a highly sensitive marker for nephrogenic adenoma: an immunohistochemical study with a specificity test in genitourinary tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this