Open Access
Somatostatin receptor expression in thymic tumors
Diego Ferone1,Liliana Montella1,Annarosaria De Chiara1,Leo J Hofland1,Steven W J Lamberts1,Giovannella Palmieri1
Department of Endocrinology and Medical Sciences and Center of Excellence for Biomedical Research, University of Genova, viale Benedetto XV, 6, Genova
DOI: 10.2741/3453 Volume 14 Issue 9, pp.3304-3309
Published: 01 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New biological and clinical aspects of neuroendocrine tumors)

Detection of thymic tumors by (111In-DTPA0)octreotide scintigraphy and the antitumor effect exerted by somatostatin (SS) analogs suggest significant expression of SS receptors (SSRs) in these tumors. We measured SSR subtype (sst)2A and sst3 expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 14 thymic tumors previously studied by SSR scintigraphy (SRS). Scintigraphy showed significant (111In-DTPA0)octreotide uptake in 13/14 tumors (tumor-to-background ratios: 1.4- to 6-fold). By IHC, 4 tumors were positive for sst2A and sst3; two for sst2A and five tumors for sst3. Three tumors were completely negative. Overall, 11/14 (approximately 78% of cases) expressed at least one SSR subtype. Staining was highly heterogeneous: sst2A was confined to malignant epithelial cells or within stromal structures, and sst3 was predominantly associated with thymocytes. SRS provides immediate visualization of primary and metastatic lesions, while IHC reveals SSR subtype expression. This joined approach could help to select SS analogs beneficial for therapy.

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Diego Ferone, Liliana Montella, Annarosaria De Chiara, Leo J Hofland, Steven W J Lamberts, Giovannella Palmieri. Somatostatin receptor expression in thymic tumors. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2009. 14(9); 3304-3309.