Objective: Tenascin-C (TN) is an extracellular matrix glycoprotein with a characteristic six-armed structure. The aim of this study was to determine whether the concentration of TN in the cyst fluid of brain tumors can be used as a marker for angiogenesis and glioma grade.
Methods: We investigated the expression of TN in the cyst wall and cyst fluid of human brain tumors by immunohistochemistry, immunoprecipitation, and immunoblotting. The tumors included 12 astrocytomas (5 glioblastoma multiforme tumors, 1 anaplastic astrocytoma, 1 low-grade astrocytoma, 4 juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas, and 1 mixed glioma), 2 dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors, 3 craniopharyngiomas, 2 ependymomas, 2 metastatic carcinomas, 3 arachnoid cysts, 1 glial ependymal cyst, and 1 inflammatory cyst.
Results: We detected no expression of TN in the cyst fluids of the ependymomas, craniopharyngiomas, and nonpilocytic low-grade astrocytoma. By contrast, TN was detected in the cyst fluids of all the other tumors. Results of quantitative immunoblotting using a PhosphorImager unit (Molecular Dynamics, Sunnyvale, CA) revealed that, on average, a 5-fold higher signal was observed in the glioblastoma multiforme tumors as compared with the anaplastic astrocytoma, and a 10-fold higher signal as compared with the mixed glioma, juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas, and dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors. Results of TN immunohistochemistry in the astrocytomas correlated with glioma grade, with stronger staining of the hyperplastic vessels and tumor cells being observed in higher grade gliomas. No TN immunoreactivity was detected in the walls of the ependymomas, arachnoid cysts, and glial ependymal cyst that lack hyperplastic vessels, and minimal TN immunoreactivity was observed in the perivascular gliotic rim of the craniopharyngiomas. No TN was detected in the cyst fluid of these cystic processes.
Conclusion: The presence of TN in and around the hyperplastic vessels and tumor cells present in the cyst walls of astrocytomas and its deposition in the intratumoral cyst fluid in which angiogenic factors have been detected further suggests a role for TN as an angiogenic modulator. These preliminary results suggest that immunodetection of TN in the tumor cyst fluid may indicate tumor type and grade.