Comparison of extracellular matrix antigens in subtypes of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma and conventional pulmonary adenocarcinoma: An immunohistochemical study

N. P. Ohori, S. A. Yousem, J. Griffin, K. Stanis, W. G. Stetler-Stevenson, T. V. Colby, E. Sonmez-Alpan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In contrast to the conventional pulmonary adenocarcinomas (CPAs), bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC) grows predominantly by spreading along the existing alveolar septal framework. Within the BAC category, three subtypes have been identified: mucinous, nonmucinous, and sclerosing BAC. Of these, mucinous and sclerosing BACs have worse prognoses compared with nonmucinous BAC. However, the manifestation of aggressive behavior is different between the mucinous and sclerosing types of BACs. Multifocality is often produced by aerogenous spread, especially in the case of mucinous BACs. To study the differences between the BAC subtypes and the conventional pulmonary adenocarcinomas, we employed a battery of immunohistochemical stains marking the extracellular matrix architecture (laminin, collagen IV, fibronectin, and collagen III), a degradative enzyme against a basement membrane component (anti-type IV collagenase) and cellular receptors for laminin and collagen IV (α2 integrin) on 16 BACs (5 mucinous, 5 nonmucinous, and 6 sclerosing) and 30 CPAs. The mucinous and nonmucinous BACs demonstrated neoplastic epithelial cells growing along a continuous basement membrane. A similar growth pattern with intact basement membrane was noted in the periphery of sclerosing BACs. However, in contrast to mucinous and nonmucinous BACs, all cases of sclerosing BACs showed disruption or complete absence of basement membrane components (laminin and collagen IV) around the embedded glands located centrally in the sclerotic fibrous stroma, as was seen in the basement membrane analysis of conventional adenocarcinomas. Furthermore, increased type IV collagenase activity was seen in the small centrally located embedded glands in comparison to the peripheral glands. These architectural alterations of basement membrane disruption and phenotypic expression of degradative activity may be a reflection of the invasive behavior of the sclerosing BACs and their tendency to produce lymph node metastasis. Although the mucinous BACs did not show evidence of basement membrane disruption, there was a marked increase in their levels of type IV collagenase expression along with consistently low levels of α2 integrin receptor (laminin and collagen IV receptor) expression. These findings may be related to the ability of the mucinous BACs to detach from the underlying basement membrane and spread aerogenously, and is to be contrasted with the stromal infiltration and desmoplasia of sclerosing BACs and CPAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-686
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1992


  • Basement membrane
  • Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Lung
  • Pulmonary adenocarcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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