Somatostatin receptors in primary human breast cancer: quantitative analysis of mRNA for subtypes 1--5 and correlation with receptor protein expression and tumor pathology

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2005 Jul;92(2):175-86. doi: 10.1007/s10549-005-2414-0.


Somatostatin receptors (SSTRs) have been identified in most hormone-producing tumors as well as in breast cancer. In the present study, we determined SSTR1-5 expression in primary ductal NOS breast tumors through semi-quantitative RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry. The results from the analysis of 98 samples were correlated with several key histological markers and receptor expression. All five SSTR subtypes are variably expressed at the mRNA level in breast tumors with 91% of samples showing SSTR1, 98% SSTR2, 96% SSTR3, 76% SSTR4, and 54% SSTR5. SSTR1-5 are localized to both tumor cells and the surrounding peritumoral regions as detected by immunocytochemistry. Levels of SSTR mRNA, when corrected for beta-actin levels, were highest for SSTR3 followed by SSTR1, SSTR2, SSTR5, and SSTR4. Furthermore, there was good correlation between mRNA and protein expression with 84% for SSTR1, 79% for SSTR2, 89% for SSTR3, 68% for SSTR4, 68% for SSTR5, and 78% for all five receptors. SSTR1, 2 and 4 were correlated with ER levels whereas SSTR2 showed an additional correlation with PR levels. These correlations were independent of patient age and histological grade. Moreover, using immunocytochemistry, blood vessels exhibited receptor-specific localization for SSTR2 and SSTR5. Our results indicate significant correlations between mRNA and protein expression along with receptor-specific correlations with histological markers as well as ER and PR levels. Differential distribution of SSTR subtypes in tumors and receptor-specific expression in vascular structures may be considered as a novel diagnosis for breast tumors with receptor subtype agonists.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • RNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / genetics
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Receptors, Somatostatin