Background: Somatostatin is a tetradecapeptide exerting inhibitory action on endocrine and exocrine cell secretion and proliferation. Somatostatin receptors (SST) are widely expressed in various neoplasms including endocrine tumours. Using immunohistochemistry, the expression of SST1, SST2A, SST2B, SST3, SST4, and SST5 was studied in tissue microarrays (TMAs), using a series of 90 human pituitary adenomas producing growth hormone and/or prolactin, including 30 of each somatotroph, lactotroph, and mixed somatotroph/lactotroph adenoma type.
Methods: For immunohistochemistry, the standard avidin biotin complex method enhanced by tyramide was used, using polyclonal antisera for all SST types. A four point scoring system was used to assess the membranous immunopositivity.
Results: All SST types were positive in all tumour types, showing varying immunoreactivity scores. SST5 and SST2A were the predominant receptors, showing strong expression in high frequency in all three adenoma types. Strong expression of SST1 was higher in lactotroph adenomas than in other tumour types.
Conclusions: The immunohistochemical results of SST expression are in agreement with most findings of previous molecular studies. The fact that SST2A expression is predominant suggests that pharmaceutical octapeptide somatostatin analogues may act through this receptor, while the role of SST2B may be merely synergistic.
- GH, growth hormone
- PRL, prolactin, SST, somatostatin receptors
- TMA, tissue microarray