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Dig Liver Dis. 2010 Mar;42(3):220-5. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2009.07.018. Epub 2009 Oct 12.

Immunohistochemical expression of somatostatin receptors in digestive endocrine tumours.

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Gastroenterology Hospital "C. Bonorino Udaondo", Buenos Aires, Argentina.



Somatostatin receptors are expressed in a large number of human tumours. The somatostatin receptors types 1-5 expression in a series including 100 gastro-entero-pancreatic endocrine tumours were analysed.


From a prospectively built database of patients with gastro-entero-pancreatic endocrine tumours referred from three institutions, 100 cases with clinical and pathological data were selected. Somatostatin receptors expression by immunohistochemistry with somatostatin receptor types 1-5 antibodies in tissue paraffin sections were studied and correlated with the histological diagnosis according to the WHO classification, location and functional status.


Of the 100 cases, 67 were gastrointestinal tumours, 25 pancreatic and 8 liver metastasis of unknown origin. Thirty-one of them were functioning tumours: 2 insulinomas, 5 gastrinomas, 1 glucagonoma and 23 carcinoids. Somatostatin receptors expression was observed in 94 tumours. The six negative cases were all non-functioning tumours. Somatostatin receptors 2a and 5 were highly expressed (86 and 62%, respectively), and surprisingly found even in poorly differentiated endocrine carcinomas. Somatostatin receptors expression was less frequent in pancreatic than in gastrointestinal tumours. Well-differentiated neoplasms had a higher density of somatostatin receptors. Only SSTR2a showed membrane staining.


Immunohistochemistry revealed that somatostatin receptors were highly expressed in both primary and metastatic gastro-entero-pancreatic endocrine tumours with heterogeneous staining distribution. It proved to be a reliable technique even in small tumour samples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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