Expression analysis of genes involved in DNA repair or synthesis in mixed neuroendocrine/nonneuroendocrine carcinomas

Marco Volante, Valentina Monica, Nadia Birocco, Maria Pia Brizzi, Simone Busso, Lorenzo Daniele, Stefano La Rosa, Luisella Righi, Anna Sapino, Alfredo Berruti, Giorgio V. Scagliotti, Mauro Papotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mixed neuroendocrine/nonneuroendocrine carcinomas are heterogeneous tumors with poorly defined diagnostic and clinical features and without pathological or molecular markers of prognosis or markers predicting their response to therapy. We aimed at analyzing the pathological features and the expression of genes involved in DNA repair or synthesis in a cohort of patients with mixed carcinomas from different sites as compared to the patients' outcome. Methods: Relative cDNA quantification of ribonucleotide reductase, large subunit 1, excision repair cross-complementation group 1, thymidylate synthase and topoisomerase IIa genes was tested using real-time PCR on microdissected neuroendocrine and nonneuroendocrine tumor components of 42 mixed cases (from the lung as well as the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts) and on 45 control cases of pure neuroendocrine and nonneuroendocrine carcinomas. Results: The expression levels of all genes were stable comparing nonneuroendocrine and neuroendocrine components of mixed cases (except for topoisomerase IIa in lung samples) but significantly different as compared to control nonneuroendocrine and neuroendocrine tumors. In the multivariate analysis including all clinical and pathological parameters and gene expression levels available, a predominant nonneuroendocrine component, the administration of additional therapy other than surgery and a high thymidylate synthase expression in nonneuroendocrine tumor tissue were significantly associated with a lower risk of a patient's death. Conclusions: Our data show that mixed neuroendocrine/nonneuroendocrine carcinomas are different at the molecular level from their pure neuroendocrine and nonneuroendocrine counterparts, and detailed analyses of their clinical, pathological and molecular features may improve the clinical strategies for the treatment of these rare and underestimated tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-160
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 28 2015


  • Gene expression
  • Mixed carcinoma
  • Neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • Prognosis
  • Thymidylate synthase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)


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