The immunophenotype of pituitary adenomas
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Although the production of pituitary hormones by adenohypophysial tumors has been studied extensively, an examination of the immunophenotype of pituitary adenomas using a broad spectrum of antibodies has not been previously investigated. We studied 23 pituitary adenomas using a large panel of antibodies to determine if these tumors exhibited a common immunophenotype. Various neuroendocrine markers, synaptophysin, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and the intermediate filament protein, low-mol-wt keratin were expressed in most examples. There was, however, differential expression of chromogranin A in that few prolactin (PRL) and adenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) adenomas stained positively, whereas all other adenoma subtypes were reactive. The ACTH adenomas had a unique profile with positive staining for galanin, neurophysin, vasopressin, and ubiquitin. These results indicate that (1) pituitary adenomas do not express a single “generic” immunophenotype; (2) synaptophysin is the most reliable and best broad spectrum marker for pituitary adenomas; (3) the neuroendocrine granule marker chromogranin A is useful in the identification of null cell adenoma, a tumor that usually does not stain for anterior pituitary tumors; and (4) among pituitary tumors, ACTH adenomas have a unique immunoprofile.
Key WordsPituitary gland immunostaining adenomas
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