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J Neurosurg. 1989 May;70(5):682-7.

Immunoreactive S-antigen in cerebrospinal fluid: a marker of pineal parenchymal tumors?

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Section on Neuroendocrinology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland.


This investigation evaluated the possibility that the occurrence of S-antigen in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) might be used as a preoperative marker of pineal parenchymal tumors (pineoblastoma and pineocytoma). Such a marker could provide a means of preoperatively differentiating these neoplasms from pineal region tumors of other origin. The S-antigen, also known as the 48-kD protein or arrestin, is a highly antigenic protein originally found in the retina and pineal gland. In the retinal photoreceptors and submammalian pineal photoreceptors the protein is thought to be involved in phototransduction; its function in the mammalian pinealocyte is unknown. S-Antigen immunoreactivity also occurs in certain neoplastic cells of retinoblastomas, pineocytomas, pineoblastomas, and cerebellar medulloblastomas. This study included a group of 13 patients with tumors of the pineal region. Samples of CSF were obtained preoperatively and analyzed for the S-antigen using western blot technology. Tumor biopsy material was classified according to conventional neurohistological criteria and was also examined by immunocytochemical techniques for the presence of the S-antigen. S-Antigen immunoreactivity was found in the preoperative CSF of the one patient found to have pineocytoma; tumor tissue removed from this patient was the only neoplastic tissue examined in this study which contained S-Antigen immunoreactive tumor cells. Furthermore, hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase activity was detectable in the pineocytoma but not in three other pineal tumors, and melatonin levels in the CSF of the pineocytoma patient were the highest in the patient group examined. These preliminary results suggest that testing for S-antigen in CSF might be useful in characterizing and treating tumors of the pineal region and, when identified in conjunction with other markers, it might also help to better define pineal parenchymal tumors. This study needs confirmation with a larger number of patients. If this approach is eventually found to be a reliable predictor of pineal cell tumors, it may supplant the need for surgical biopsies before initiating appropriate adjunctive therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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