Somatostatin receptor expression in thymic tumors

Diego Ferone, Liliana Montella, Annarosaria De Chiara, Leo J. Hofland, Steven W J Lamberts, Giovannella Palmieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Detection of thymic tumors by [111In-DTPA0]octreotide scintigraphy and the antitumor effect exerted by somatostatin (SS) analogs suggest significant expression of SS receptors (SSRs) in these tumors. We measured SSR subtype (sst)2A and sst3 expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 14 thymic tumors previously studied by SSR scintigraphy (SRS). Scintigraphy showed significant [111In-DTPA 0]octreotide uptake in 13/14 tumors (tumor-to-background ratios: 1.4-to 6-fold). By IHC, 4 tumors were positive for sst2A and sst 3; two for sst2A and five tumors for sst3. Three tumors were completely negative. Overall, 11/14 (approximately 78% of cases) expressed at least one SSR subtype. Staining was highly heterogeneous: sst2A was confined to malignant epithelial cells or within stromal structures, and sst3 was predominantly associated with thymocytes. SRS provides immediate visualization of primary and metastatic lesions, while IHC reveals SSR subtype expression. This joined approach could help to select SS analogs beneficial for therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3304-3309
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Octreotide
  • Somatostatin
  • Somatostatin receptors
  • Thymic tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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