Vol 72, No 2 (2021)
Original paper
Published online: 2021-01-27

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Expression of kisspeptin and KISS1 receptor in pituitary neuroendocrine tumours — an immunohistochemical study

Milena Mihajlovic1, Sandra Pekic2, Mirjana Doknic2, Marko Stojanovic2, Dragana Miljic2, Ivan Soldatovic3, Tatjana Vukotic4, Tijana Janev4, Sanja Cirovic5, Tatjana Terzic5, Savo Raicevic6, Milica Skender-Gazibara7, Vera Popovic4, Emilija Manojlovic-Gacic5
Pubmed: 33619706
Endokrynol Pol 2021;72(2):91-96.


Introduction: Pituitary neuroendocrine tumours (PitNETs), traditionally designated as pituitary adenomas, show  elatively frequent invasive growth with exceptional metastatic potential, the causes of which are not entirely elucidated. Kisspeptins, which perform their activity through KISS1 receptor (KISS1R), are recognised as metastatic suppressors in many malignant tumours. This study aimed to investigate the immunohistochemical expression of kisspeptin and KISS1R in different types of PitNETs and to compare it with the expression in the normal anterior pituitary, using tissue microarray.

Material and methods: The experimental group consisted of 101 patients with PitNETs, with 45 (37.3%) being of gonadotroph, 40 (33.9%) somatotroph, 4 (3.4%) corticotroph, 4 (3.4%) thyrotroph, 3 (2.5%) lactotroph, and 6 (5.1%) null-cell type. The control group consisted of anterior pituitary tissue accidentally removed during the surgery for PitNETs in 17 patients.

Results: Kisspeptin expression was observed in both experimental and control groups, without statistically significant differences in the staining intensity. Negative kisspeptin staining was detected in 10 (9.9%), weak in 79 (78.2%), and moderate in 12 tumours (11.9%); none of the tumours had strong staining intensity. The weak staining intensity was predominant in all PitNET types except thyrotroph tumours. Significant statistical difference in terms of kisspeptin expression between types of PitNET and the control group was not observed. Immunohistochemical expression of KISS1R was not observed in the control group or in the experimental group.

Conclusions: We conclude that immunohistochemistry, as a method, cannot confirm the involvement of kisspeptin in tumourigenesis and aggressiveness of PitNETs, but potentially supports its antimetastatic role. The absence of KISS1R immunohistochemical expression in all anterior pituitaries and PitNETs in our cohort needs verification through the use of different procedures designed for the detection of the presence and localisation of proteins in the cell.

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