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Sara Storvall, Helena Leijon, Eeva Ryhänen, Johanna Louhimo, Caj Haglund, Camilla Schalin-Jäntti and Johanna Arola


Parathyroid carcinoma represents a rare cause of primary hyperparathyroidism. Distinguishing carcinoma from the benign tumors underlying primary hyperparathyroidism remains challenging. The diagnostic criteria for parathyroid carcinoma are local and/or metastatic spreading. Atypical parathyroid adenomas share other histological features with carcinomas but lack invasive growth. Somatostatin receptors are commonly expressed in different neuroendocrine tumors, but whether this also holds for parathyroid tumors remains unknown.


Our aim is to examine the immunohistochemical expression of somatostatin receptor 1–5 in parathyroid typical adenomas, atypical adenomas and carcinomas.


We used a tissue microarray construct from a nationwide cohort of parathyroid carcinomas (n = 32), age- and gender-matched typical parathyroid adenomas (n = 72) and atypical parathyroid adenomas (n = 27) for immunohistochemistry of somatostatin receptor subtypes 1–5. We separately assessed cytoplasmic, membrane and nuclear expression and also investigated the associations with histological, biochemical and clinical characteristics.


All parathyroid tumor subgroups expressed somatostatin receptors, although membrane expression appeared negligible. Except for somatostatin receptor 1, expression patterns differed between the three tumor types. Adenomas exhibited the weakest and carcinomas the strongest expression of somatostatin receptor 2, 3, 4 and 5. We observed the largest difference for cytoplasmic somatostatin receptor 5 expression.


Parathyroid adenomas, atypical adenomas and carcinomas all express somatostatin receptor subtypes 1–5. Somatostatin receptor 5 may serve as a potential tumor marker for malignancy. Studies exploring the role of somatostatin receptor imaging and receptor-specific therapies in patients with parathyroid carcinomas are needed.

Open access

Tiina Vesterinen, Teijo Kuopio, Maarit Ahtiainen, Aija Knuuttila, Harri Mustonen, Kaisa Salmenkivi, Johanna Arola and Caj Haglund

Pulmonary carcinoid (PC) tumors are rare tumors that account for approximately 1% of all lung cancers. The primary treatment option is surgery, while there is no standard treatment for metastatic disease. As the number of PCs diagnosed yearly is increasing, there is a need to establish novel therapeutic options. This study aimed to investigate programmed death protein 1 (PD-1) and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in PC tumors since blocking of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway is a promising therapeutic option in various other malignancies. A total of 168 PC patients treated between 1990 and 2013 were collected from the Finnish biobanks. After re-evaluation of the tumors, 131 (78%) were classified as typical carcinoid (TC) and 37 (22%) as atypical carcinoid (AC) tumors. Primary tumor samples were immunohistochemically labeled for PD-1, PD-L1 and CD8. High PD-1 expression was detected in 16% of the tumors. PD-L1 expression was detected in 7% of TC tumors; all AC tumors were PD-L1 negative. PD-L1 expression was associated with mediastinal lymph-node metastasis at the time of diagnosis (P = 0.021) as well as overall metastatic potential of the tumor (P = 0.010). Neither PD-1 expression, PD-L1 expression nor CD8+ T cell density was associated with survival. In conclusion, PD-1 and PD-L1 were expressed in a small proportion of PC tumors and PD-L1 expression was associated with metastatic disease. Targeting of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway with immune checkpoint inhibitors may thus offer a treatment option for a subset of PC patients.