Fibroblast Activation Protein-α (FAP) Identifies Stromal Invasion in Colorectal Neoplasia : The American Journal of Surgical Pathology

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Fibroblast Activation Protein-α (FAP) Identifies Stromal Invasion in Colorectal Neoplasia

Tarín-Nieto, Alexandre MD*; Solano-Iturri, Jon D. MD, PhD†,‡; Arrieta-Aguirre, Inés PhD§; Valdivia, Asier PhD; Etxezarraga, María C. MD*; Loizate, Alberto MD, PhD; López, José I. MD, PhD; Larrinaga, Gorka MD, PhD‡,§,#

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The American Journal of Surgical Pathology 47(9):p 1027-1033, September 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000002075


The increasing detection of colorectal adenomas and early adenocarcinomas (ADCs) in the context of nationwide screening programs has led to a significant increase in the incidence of inconclusive diagnoses in which histopathologic analysis of endoscopic biopsies does not allow pathologists to provide a reliable diagnosis of stromal invasion. The objective of this study was to analyze the discriminative capacity of the immunohistochemical expression of fibroblast activation protein-α (FAP) in distinguishing colorectal adenomas with low-grade dysplasia (LGD) and high-grade dysplasia (HGD) from invasive intestinal-type ADCs. The study analyzed the first endoscopic biopsies from a series of patients classified as inconclusive or conclusive for stromal invasion based on the pathologic report. In total, 30 ADCs, 52 HGDs, and 15 LGDs were included in the study. FAP expression was detected in 23/30 ADCs and was negative in all adenomas with either LGD or HGD features (100% specificity and 76.7% sensitivity, area under the curve=0.883, CI=0.79-0.98). Considering these findings, we conclude that FAP is a potentially useful tool for helping pathologists identify invasive lesions in colorectal endoscopic biopsies, avoiding unnecessary biopsy repetitions.

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