Expression of somatostatin receptor types 2, 3 and 5 in biopsies and surgical specimens of human lung tumours. Correlation with preoperative octreotide scintigraphy

Published on Friday, 26 May 2017


The increasingly popular use of somatostatin analogs in clinical practice for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes prompted extensive investigations on somatostatin receptor (sst) expression in human tumors by autoradiography, nucleic acid analysis and, recently, immunohistochemistry (IHC). The currently employed radiotracer for scintigraphy (Octreoscan) is octreotide, a somatostatin analog having a high affinity for sst types 2, 3, and 5.

In this study on 25 patients, we compared sst 2, 3, and 5 expression in surgical and biopsy specimens of lung tumors, as revealed by immunohistochemical and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), with the octreoscan outcome (which was positive in 20/25 cases).

By IHC, the tumors mainly expressed sst2 (17/25, 68%) at the cell membrane level, while sst 3 and 5 were detected in a fraction of cases (24% and 20%, respectively). Comparing RT-PCR and IHC data, a correlation was found in 83.3% of cases, while octreoscan findings and sst expression were correlated in 22/25 cases (88%).

In addition, cytological and biopsy specimens expressed the same sst type found in the corresponding surgical sample, thus indicating that a cell membrane sst immunoreactivity in a biopsy reliably predicts the tumor-receptor profile before its resection.

Finally, sst expression was not restricted to neuroendocrine lung tumors, but was also a feature of some non-neuroendocrine carcinomas, although to a lesser extent.

The occasional expression of sst subtypes in intratumoral lymphocytes, endothelia and necrotic areas is an additional feature to be considered in the interpretation of Octreoscan findings, since the in vivo procedure does not allow to define the sst cellular distribution.

IHC can therefore be usefully coupled to radionuclear investigations to better characterize the sst cellular location and subtype in lung tumors.



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