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Trovato M.,Pad D 4 Piano AOU Policlinico G. Martino | Torre M.L.,Unit of Endocrinology | Ragonese M.,Unit of Endocrinology | Simone A.,Pad D 4 Piano AOU Policlinico G. Martino | And 10 more authors.
Endocrine | Year: 2013

The ligand/receptor hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-met signaling system promotes cellular growth and angiogenesis through PI3K/phosphor-Akt and STAT3/phosphor-STAT3 downstream effectors. In this study, we have evaluated the expression of molecules of the HGF/c-met pathway in pituitary adenomas (PA). The expression of HGF, c-met, PI3K (p85αsubunit) pAkt, STAT3, and pSTAT3 was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in an archival series of 30 PA (12 non-functioning and 18 functioning; 25 macroadenomas and 5 microadenomas). PAs expressed all six proteins in tumor epithelial cells. The proportion of c-met+ve cells was greater than HGF+ve cells (49 ± 19 vs 34 ± 17 %, P < 0.01), the pAkt+ve cells greater than PI3K+ve cells (39 ± 16.0 vs 1.3 ± 0.5 %, P < 0.001), and the STAT3+ve cells greater than active pSTAT3+ve cells (14 ± 8 vs 7 ± 6 %, P < 0.01). Furthermore, endothelial Akt immunostaining was detected on the vascular surface area of 17 PAs, in macroadenomas more frequently than in microadenomas (82 vs 18 %). The percentage of immunostained endothelial cells was greater in macro than in microadenomas (19 ± 7 and 7 ± 3 %; P < 0.05). In conclusion, HGF and c-met are widely expressed in PA, and correlate with pAkt expression. These data, together with the finding of pAkt immunostaining on microvascular areas related to tumor size, suggest a major role of the pAKT signaling in tumor growth and angiogenesis. There might be practical implications for the targeted therapy of PA. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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