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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 279-284

The Role of a Minimum Immunohistochemical Antibody Panel in Confirming Undifferentiated Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: A Cross-Sectional Study at the Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

1 Department of Pathology, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi; Department of Pathology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
2 Department of Biomedical Science, College of Health Sciences, The University of Dodoma, Dodoma, Tanzania
3 Department of Surgery, College of Health Sciences, The University of Dodoma, Dodoma, Tanzania
4 Department of Pathology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences; Department of Pathology, Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nmj.NMJ_134_19

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Introduction: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a malignant epithelial neoplasm arising in the nasopharyngeal mucosa that shows light microscopic and/or ultrastructural evidence of squamous differentiation. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) can be used to reliably distinguish undifferentiated NPC from other malignant tumors, and the technique may be a necessary tool toward the arrival of a definitive diagnosis, particularly when dealing with challenging cases. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional hospital-based study which was conducted at Muhimbili National Hospital. The study involved 120 patients with NPC who were diagnosed on histopathological basis between 2009 and 2013. Results: The sensitivity and specificity of hematoxylin and eosin (H and E) stain in diagnosing NPC were 99% and 30.4%, respectively. The accuracy of H and E stain to diagnose NPC and lymphoma was 94.2% and 30.4%, respectively. CD45 antibody helped to confirm 16 cases which were diagnosed as NPC on H and E stain to be lymphoma. Further, AE1/AE3 antibody helped to confirm one case who was diagnosed as rhabdomyosarcoma on H and E stain to be NPC. Conclusions: The sensitivity and accuracy of H and E stains to diagnose NPC were very high whereas the specificity was very low. A significant proportion of previously diagnosed NPC cases by routine H and E stains were confirmed not to be so by a minimal IHC antibody panel of pan-cytokeratin cocktail (AE1/AE3) and leukocyte common antigen (CD45). This highlights the paramount importance of a minimum IHC panel in assisting to obtain a definitive diagnosis in challenging cases of NPC.

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