SSTR2a is constantly expressed in lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma with squamous differentiation other than that with glandular differentiation

J Clin Pathol. 2021 Nov;74(11):704-708. doi: 10.1136/jclinpath-2020-206903. Epub 2020 Nov 1.


Aims: Somatostatin receptor 2a (SSTR2a) is an important diagnostic marker of meningioma and neuroendocrine tumours and is frequently expressed in primary and metastatic non-keratinising nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NK-NPC). Since NK-NPC cases are considered a kind of lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma (LELCs) which originate from the nasopharynx, information on the expression profile of SSTR2a in LELC in other sites with squamous and glandular differentiations is still lacking. This study aimed to assess the expression of SSTR2a in LELC of various organs and clarify its expression profile.

Methods: Expression of SSTR2a in 164 cases of LELC was retrospectively analysed by immunohistochemistry in paraffin-embedded tissues, including 146 cases of LELC with squamous differentiation (120 cases of the nasopharynx, 21 cases of the lung and 5 cases of the parotid gland) and 18 cases of LELC with glandular differentiation (15 cases of the stomach and 3 cases of the liver).

Results: We found that all (100%) cases of LELC of the lung (21/21) and parotid gland (5/5), and 93.3% (112/120) cases of LELC of the nasopharynx showed a diffused and strong expression of SSTR2a, while cases of gastric (0/15) and biliary (0/3) showed no SSTR2a expression.

Conclusion: SSTR2a is constantly expressed in LELC with squamous differentiation, but not expressed in LELC with glandular differentiation. However, the selective expression mechanism of SSTR2a remains unknown, which needs further investigation. Our novel findings might provide potential therapeutic approaches for the treatment of LELC with squamous cell differentiation.

Keywords: carcinoma; immunohistochemistry; viruses.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / genetics*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • SSTR2 protein, human
  • Keratins