Differential expression of somatostatin receptors, P44/42 MAPK, and mTOR activation in medulloblastomas and primitive neuroectodermal tumors

Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2013 Dec;21(6):532-8. doi: 10.1097/PAI.0b013e3182813724.


Recently, somatostatin receptors (SSR) have been identified on medulloblastomas and proposed as a new target for chemotherapy including inhibitory somatostatin analogs. Activation of SSRs inhibit growth, in part, by activating phosphatases that dephosphorylate/deactivate growth stimulatory signaling of the MEK1-p44/42 MAPK and PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathways. These SSR-inhibited signaling pathways have not been characterized or correlated with SSR expression in medulloblastomas or primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs), yet may represent additional targets for combined chemotherapy. We evaluated the distribution and extent of SSR1 and SSR2 expression and correlated it with activation of downstream MEK1-p44/42 MAPK and PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathways in medulloblastomas and PNETs. Sections from 22 medulloblastomas and 9 PNETs were compared using immunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibodies to SSR1, SSR2, p44/42 MAPK, phosphorylated p44/42 MAPK, and phosphorylated mTOR. SSR1 was detected in 50% of medulloblastomas, extensive in 46%, and similar in classic, desmoplastic, and large cell/anaplastic subtypes. SSR1 was detected in 78% of PNETs and extensive in the majority. SSR2 was found in 18% of medulloblastomas and 33% of PNETs. Activated/phosphorylated pMAPK 44/42 was detected in 82% of medulloblastomas, all subtypes, and in 62.5% of PNETs with coexpression of SSR1 in one third. Activated/phosphorylated mTOR was found in only 18% of medulloblastomas but in 88% of PNETs. SSR1 coexpression with activated/phosphorylated mTOR was identified in 75% of PNETs. These findings suggest that addition of an mTOR inhibitor may potentiate growth inhibitory effects of SSR agonists in the treatment of PNETs. Immunohistochemical identification of mTOR activation/phosphorylation in biopsies of initial and treatment-resistant PNETs may facilitate development of clinical trials and therapeutic decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma / diagnosis
  • Medulloblastoma / genetics*
  • Medulloblastoma / metabolism
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / genetics*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / genetics*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / diagnosis
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / genetics*
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / metabolism
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / pathology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / genetics*
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism


  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • somatostatin receptor 2
  • MTOR protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3