Expression of somatostatin receptor types 1–5 in 81 cases of gastrointestinal and pancreatic endocrine tumors
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Somatostatin receptors (SSTRs) have been extensively mapped in human tumors by means of autoradiography, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). We analyzed the SSTR type 1–5 expression by means of RT-PCR and/or IHC in a series of 81 functioning and non-functioning gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) endocrine tumors and related normal tissues. Moreover, we compared the results with clinical, pathological and hormonal features. Forty-six cases (13 intestinal and 33 pancreatic) were studied for SSTR 1–5 expression using RT-PCR, IHC with antibodies to SSTR types 2, 3, 5 and ISH for SSTR2 mRNA. The vast majority of tumors expressed SSTR types 1, 2, 3 and 5, while SSTR4 was detected in a small minority. Due to the good correlation between RT-PCR and IHC data on SSTR types 2, 3, and 5, thirty-five additional GEP endocrine tumors were studied with IHC alone. Pancreatic insulinomas had an heterogeneous SSTR expression, while 100% of somatostatinomas expressed SSTR5 and 100% gastrinomas and glucagonomas expressed SSTR2. Pre-operative biopsy material showed an overlapping immunoreactivity with that of surgical specimens, suggesting that the SSTR status can be detected in the diagnostic work-up. It is concluded that SSTRs 1–5 are heterogeneously expressed in GEP endocrine tumors and that IHC is a reliable tool to detect SSTR types 2, 3 and 5 in surgical and biopsy specimens.
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