Gastrin-releasing peptide gene expression in small cell and large cell undifferentiated lung carcinomas

Mary E. Sunday, Noah Choi, Eliot R. Spindel, William W. Chin, Eugene J. Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP; mammalian bombesin) is present in the neuroendocrine cells of human fetal lung and in small cell lung carcinomas (SCLCs), where it may act as a growth factor. Considering the potential importance of GRP as a tumor marker, we have conducted a retrospective immunohistochemical analysis of 176 lung tumors for markers of GRP gene expression, as well as several other markers of neuroendocrine cell differentiation: chromogranin A, neuron-specific enolase, and calcitonin. The majority of carcinoids contained mature GRP, in contrast to only a minority of SCLCs and large cell lung carcinomas (LCLCs). However, a majority of SCLCs and LCLCs contained proGRP immunoreactivity. In situ hybridization did not add any information beyond what was obtained using proGRP antisera. In spite of sharing these neuroendocrine cell markers, SCLCs are associated with a graver prognosis than LCLCs. No prognostic significance was associated with immunostaining for GRP or several other markers of neuroendocrine cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1030-1039
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • bombesin
  • immunohistochemistry
  • in situ hybridization
  • lung tumors
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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