ENDOCRINE PATHOLOGY, vol.24, no.4, pp.191-198, 2013 (SCI-Expanded)
Silent corticotroph adenomas (SCAs) represent a distinct subset of clinically non-functioning pituitary adenomas. There are two variants of SCA; type I are densely granulated basophilic tumors and type II are sparsely granulated and chromophobic tumors. SCAs are known to be aggressive than the more common non-functioning gonadotroph adenomas (NFGAs). Cell-matrix interactions play an important role in the pathogenesis of pituitary adenomas. In this study, we compared 19 SCAs and 50 NFGAs with known fibroblast growth factor receptor-4 (FGFR4) status using semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry to localize beta 1-integrin, osteopontin, and matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) as cytoplasmic, membranous, or mixed cytoplasmic-membranous staining to achieve scores of 1-4. Staining for beta 1-integrin was significantly higher in SCAs (100 %, score 3.3) than in NFGAs (96 %; score 2.6) (p = 0.0482); there was no statistical difference within subgroups of SCA (type II score 3.4; type I score 2.8) (p = 0.2663). Osteopontin immunoreactivity was also higher in SCAs (100 %, score 3.7) than in NFGAs (42 %, score 0.8) (p = 0.0001); there was no statistical difference within subgroups of SCA (type II score 3.6; type I score 3.9) (p = 0.2787). In contrast, MMP-1 immunoreactivity was lower in SCAs (89 %; score 2.5) than in NFGAs (98 %; score 3.6) (p = 0.0005); there was no statistical difference within subgroups of SCA (type II score 2.7; type I score 2.0) (p = 0.30704). The MMP-1 results correlated with FGFR4 expression (NFGA 96 %, type II SCA 71 %, type I SCA 40 %). Our data indicate that the biological aggressivity of SCAs compared with NFGA may be due to high osteopontin expression; in contrast, high MMP-1 is characteristic of NFGAs that also express more FGFR4. Further investigations are warranted to clarify the underlying regulatory mechanisms of these markers. The high osteopontin or FGFR4/MMP-1 expression levels in SCAs and NFGAs, respectively, indicate the potential for therapeutic strategies targeting osteopontin or FGFR4/MMP-1 for inoperable tumors of these types.