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Eur J Cancer. 1995;31A(4):481-5.

Somatostatin and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in neuroblastoma and ganglioneuroma: chromatographic characterisation and release during surgery.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Neuroblastomas and ganglioneuromas frequently produce somatostatin (SOM) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), and elevated concentrations in tumour tissue are associated with favourable outcome. Both somatostatin and VIP have been shown to have an autocrine effect on tumour growth and differentiation in vitro, and VIP may cause clinical symptoms when released systemically. Using gel-permeation chromatography and specific radioimmunoassays, we further characterised somatostatin-like immunoreactivity (SOM-LI) and VIP-like immunoreactivity (VIP-LI) in neuroblastoma and ganglioneuroma tumour tissue. The major part of SOM-LI and VIP-LI in both neuroblastoma and ganglioneuroma represents the biologically active forms SOM-28, SOM-14 and VIP-2, respectively. 21 children with neuroblastoma and ganglioneuroma were monitored with serial plasma samples during surgery. In 8 children with measurable concentrations of SOM-LI, all showed increased concentrations during tumour manipulation (P = 0.004) that subsequently decreased below preoperative levels in all but one case (P = 0.06). The only child presenting with diarrhoea showed the highest preoperative plasma VIP-LI in the study (54 pmol/l). 2 children with increased concentrations of VIP-LI preoperatively showed a rapid decrease after surgical tumour removal. These findings indicate a systemic release from the tumours. It is concluded that plasma and tumour tissue from children with neuroblastoma and ganglioneuroma contain biologically active molecular forms of somatostatin and vasoactive intestinal peptide. These peptides may bear significance both for specific symptoms in certain patients as well as influencing tumour growth and differentiation in vivo.

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