Article Abstract

Diagnostic value of acid phosphatases (ACP) in differentiating reactive mesothelial cells from cancer cells in the body fluid effusions

Authors: Yun-Hui Li, Yang Wang, Xiu-Xia Chen, Bin Liang, Xue-Shan Qiu, En-Hua Wang, Guang-Ping Wu


Background: The cytological diagnosis of a malignant epithelial tumor, i.e., a cancer cell in the body fluid effusions is usually made by cytomorphological examination alone; however, diagnostic challenges can occur when the cancer cells are rare or cytological atypia is minimal. Morphological similarity between the cancer and the reactive mesothelial cell is the most common problem in establishing a clear diagnosis. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the cocktail acid phosphatases (ACP) special staining will be a useful tumor marker in differentiation of the reactive mesothelial cells from the cancer cells in the body fluid effusions.
Methods: The cocktail ACP special staining was performed on 212 body fluid effusion samples, which included 128 pleural effusions, 69 ascites, and 15 pericardial effusions.
Results: The mesothelial cells were cocktail ACP positive in 84 out of 84 benign effusion cases, and the sensitivity and the specificity were 100% for the benign effusions which including pleural effusions, ascites, and pericardial effusions. On the other hand, 122 out of 128 cancer cases were cocktail ACP negative, indicating that the sensitivity of using the cocktail ACP staining to rule out the malignant effusions was 95.3%. Thus, the cocktail ACP staining is an excellent marker with high sensitivity and specificity to distinguish the carcinoma from the reactive mesothelial cells in the body fluid effusions.
Conclusions: Our finding provided a new tool for cytopathologists in diagnosing the body fluid effusion that could impact clinical decision making.