Expression of E-cadherin, Slug and NCAM and its relationship to tumor invasiveness in patients with acromegaly
Pituitary adenomas account for 10–15% of primary intracranial tumors. Growth hormone (GH)-secreting adenomas account for 13% of all pituitary adenomas and cause acromegaly. These tumors can be aggressive, invade surrounding structures and are highly recurrent. The objective of this study was to evaluate E-cadherin, Slug and neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) expression in GH-secreting pituitary adenomas and its relationship to tumor invasiveness. A cross–sectional study of patients who underwent hypophysectomy due to GH-secreting pituitary adenoma from April 2007 to December 2014 was carried out. The medical records were reviewed to collect clinical data. Immediately after surgery, tumor samples were frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored in a biofreezer at –80°C for assessment of E-cadherin 1 (CDH1), SLUG (SNAI2), and NCAM (NCAM1) by real-time PCR. The samples were fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin for immunohistochemical analysis of E-cadherin and NCAM. Thirty-five patients with acromegaly were included in the study. Of these, 65.7% had invasive tumors. Immunohistochemically, E-cadherin was expressed in 96.7% of patients, and NCAM in 80% of patients. There was no statistically significant relationship between tumor grade or invasiveness and immunohistochemical expression of these markers. Regarding gene expression, 50% of cases expressed CDH1, none expressed SNAI2, and 53.3% expressed NCAM1. There was no statistically significant relationship between tumor grade or invasiveness and gene expression of CDH1, SNAI2, and NCAM1. The absence of Slug overexpression and of E-cadherin and NCAM suppression suggests that expression of these markers is not associated with tumor invasiveness in GH-secreting pituitary adenomas.