Pancreatic cancer is both common and highly lethal and therefore new biomarkers or potential targets for treatment are needed. Loss of BRCA associated protein-1 (BAP1) expression has been found in up to a quarter of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas. Given the close anatomical relationship between intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, we therefore sought to investigate the frequency of loss of BAP1 expression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
The records of the department of Anatomical Pathology Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia, were searched for cases of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma diagnosed between 1992 and 2014 with material available in archived formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue blocks. Immunohistochemistry for BAP1 was performed on tissue microarray sections and if staining was equivocal or negative it was confirmed on whole sections. Negative staining for BAP1 was defined as loss of expression in all neoplastic nuclei, with preserved expression in non-neoplastic cells which acted as an internal positive control.
Loss of BAP1 expression was found in only 1 of 306 (0.33%) pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas. This case was confirmed to demonstrate diffuse loss of expression throughout all neoplastic cells in multiple blocks, consistent with BAP1 loss being an early clonal event. All other cases demonstrated positive expression of BAP1.
We conclude that, in contrast to intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, loss of expression of BAP1 occurs very rarely in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Therefore BAP1 inactivation is unlikely to be a frequent driver abnormality in pancreatic adenocarcinoma.