Immunohistochemical distribution of chromogranins A and B and secretogranin II in neuroendocrine tumours of the gastrointestinal tract

Virchows Arch. 1995;426(4):361-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00191345.


The aim of the present study was to investigate immunohistochemically the distribution of chromogranin A, chromogranin B, and secretogranin II in a series of 152 neuroendocrine tumours of the gastrointestinal tract. Tumour tissues from 25 argyrophil gastric carcinoids, 18 gastrin and 5 somatostatin-producing tumours, 4 'gangliocytic paragangliomas', 49 classical argentaffin and 2 L cell appendiceal carcinoids, 27 classical ileal carcinoids, 17 rectal carcinoids, and 5 poorly differentiated neuroendocrine tumours of the stomach and rectum were immunostained with antibodies against chromogranin A, chromogranin B, and secretogranin II. Chromogranin A was the major granin expressed in gastric carcinoids and in serotonin-producing carcinoids of the appendix and the ileum. In contrast, strong chromogranin B and secretogranin II immunoreactivity was found in rectal carcinoids, in which chromogranin A was rarely expressed. Since chromogranin A is a widely used marker for neuroendocrine differentiation, it is of diagnostic importance that some gastrin-producing tumours, 'gangliocytic paragangliomas', poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas, and appendiceal L cell carcinoids completely lacked chromogranin A positivity. It is concluded that the various neuroendocrine tumours of the gastrointestinal tract show distinctly different patterns of granin expression, probably reflecting their histogenetical origin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromogranin A
  • Chromogranins / analysis*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / metabolism*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Proteins / analysis*


  • Chromogranin A
  • Chromogranins
  • Proteins