Gastrin-releasing peptide receptor expression in lung cancer

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2014 Jan;138(1):98-104. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2012-0679-OA.


Context: Gastrin-releasing peptide receptors (GRPRs) activate mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway primarily through epidermal growth factor receptor activation and are under investigation as a molecular target because they are overexpressed in several solid tumors.

Objective: To determine GRPR expression in both non-small cell lung carcinoma and small cell lung carcinoma, comparing results with clinical stages and demographic data.

Design: We analyzed the immunohistochemical expression of GRPR in 200 non-small cell lung carcinoma and 38 small cell lung carcinoma archival cases from 2004 to 2008.

Results: Non-small cell lung carcinoma cases tended to be higher GRPR expressers at a rate of 62.5% (weak, moderate, and strong expression in 41.5%, 13.5%, and 7.5%, respectively), compared with 52.62% in small cell lung carcinoma cases (weak, moderate, and strong expression in 34.21%, 15.78%, and 2.63%, respectively; P = .30). In non-small cell lung carcinoma there was a trend for higher percentages of strong expression in adenocarcinoma cases (10%; P = .67), and in patients with advanced stages (III and IV; 9.43% and 6.9%; P = .01).

Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate GRPR tissue expression in a large population of patients with lung cancer. Although GRPR expression was similar in small cell and non-small cell carcinoma, the expression was more pronounced in an advanced-stage lung cancer, particularly in adenocarcinoma cases, and may represent a potential target for the development of new treatment approaches in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Receptors, Bombesin / analysis
  • Receptors, Bombesin / biosynthesis*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptors, Bombesin