Neuroendocrine tumours of the lung may be associated with the ectopic adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) syndrome and may synthesize and secrete ACTH-related peptides in the absence of the syndrome. However, immunocytochemical analysis may not confirm these biochemical findings, particularly in small cell carcinoma, which is poorly granulated. To investigate further the morphological evidence for expression of the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) gene in neuroendocrine lung tumours, we have examined a series of 46 small cell carcinomas and 13 carcinoid tumours of the lung by in situ hybridization for POMC mRNA using a digoxigenin-labelled oligoprobe. We have compared the findings with the immunocytochemical detection of ACTH and beta-endorphin. In situ hybridization was positive in 15 of 46 small cell carcinomas (33 per cent) and in 8 of 13 carcinoid tumours (62 per cent). Immunocytochemical staining was positive in only one carcinoid tumour. These in situ hybridization studies have corroborated biochemical data indicating POMC gene expression in a high proportion of lung neuroendocrine tumours. This suggests that the low levels of expression detected by immunocytochemistry may be due to low levels of hormone storage. Multivariate analysis showed a weak negative association between POMC expression and survival in small cell carcinomas, although this did not reach statistical significance.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||The Journal of Pathology|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 1993|
- INSITU HYBRIDIZATION
- NEUROENDOCRINE TUMORS