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Horm Metab Res. 2006 Feb;38(2):112-8.

Adrenomedullin is a novel marker of tumor progression in neuroendocrine carcinomas.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine I, Erlangen-Nürnberg University Hospital, Germany.


Adrenomedullin is a multi-functional polypeptide hormone. Its involvement in angiogenesis and vasodilator action support the hypothesis that adrenomedullin may be a secretory product of neuroendocrine tumors and contribute to tumor progression. Plasma levels of adrenomedullin were measured by radioimmunoassay in 46 patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas of the gastroenteropancreatic and bronchial system. Tissue expression of adrenomedullin was studied using monoclonal antibodies on pretreated paraffin embedded tissues in a group of 31 patients. Adrenomedullin plasma levels were significantly elevated in patients compared to healthy age-matched controls (p < 0.001). The highest plasma levels were found in patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas of bronchial, midgut and unknown origin. Patients with progressive disease had higher plasma levels than patients with stable disease (p < 0.001). Of the examined tumor samples, 55 % showed cytoplasmic staining for adrenomedullin > 5 % of the total tumor area. Plasma levels and tissue expression of adrenomedullin did not correlate with functional activity of the tumors or presence of the carcinoid syndrome, but did with tumor progression (p < 0.001 and p < 0.014). In conclusion, plasma and tissue expression of the angiogenic peptide adrenomedullin are predictive of tumor progression in patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas. Adrenomedullin might represent a useful prognostic marker in patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas.

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