Keratin 17 is an imaging biomarker in lung cancers

Priya Bhattacharji, William Moore, Kavitha Yaddanapudi


Background: Computed tomographic (CT) features have demonstrated their value in classifying and assessing pulmonary nodules. Additionally, recent studies have shown the presence of keratin 17 (K17) in lung cancer is associated with increased mortality compared to patients with low/no K17 expression. The purpose of this study is to determine if there are CT imaging features that correlate with overexpression of K17 in patients with lung cancer.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study was approved by an Institutional Review Board. Lung cancer in 67 consecutive patients, who consented to have their lung cancer tissue stored in a tissue bank, were revaluated by immunohistochemical staining for the presence or absence of K17. Pre-operative imaging studies were collected on all patients. Two blinded independent radiologists evaluated multiple imaging features for each lung cancer.
Results: The overexpression of K17 was documented in 38.8% (26/67) of all lung cancers included in this cohort. Of the CT features recorded, the presence of the CT feature of lobulated borders was positively associated with over expression of K17 (P=0.02). No other imaging feature was associated with the presence or absence of K17.
Conclusions: The presence of a lobulated border, suggesting differential growth pattern of the lung cancer appears to be associated with the expression of K17.