Searching for Novel Biomarkers in Thymic Epithelial Tumors: Immunohistochemical Evaluation of Hippo Pathway Components in a Cohort of Thymic Epithelial Tumors
Given the pivotal role of the Hippo pathway in different facets of tumorigenesis, which has been vigorously established in multiple heterogenous malignancies, we attempted to evaluate its potential utility as a prognostic–predictive biomarker in thymic epithelial tumors (TETs). For this purpose, we performed a comprehensive immunohistochemical analysis of four Hippo cascade components (YAP, TAZ, TEAD4 and LATS1) in a sizeable cohort of TETs and attempted to identify possible correlations of their H-score with various clinicopathological parameters. TAZ and TEAD4 displayed both cytoplasmic and nuclear immunoreactivity in almost equal frequency, with their cytoplasmic H-score being strongly associated with more aggressive high-grade tumors (type B3, thymic carcinoma) and more advanced pathological stages. On the other hand, a primarily nuclear staining pattern was encountered in both YAP and LATS1, with the YAP nuclear H-score being higher in more indolent (type A) and earlier stage tumors. Interestingly, none of the four examined factors displayed any statistically significant correlation with patient overall (OS) or disease-free survival (DFS). In summary, our results provide some initial insight into the expression profile of these core Hippo pathway components in thymic neoplasms and point towards some clear associations with tumor characteristics, which are of paramount translational-clinical research with profound implications in therapeutic targeting of this pathway in the context of precision medicine.