Somatostatin receptor expression in thyroid disease

Helen Atkinson, James A. England, Amy Rafferty, Vim Jesudason, Karen Bedford, Laszlo Karsai, Stephen L. Atkin

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Somatostatin analogues are commercially available and used for the management of acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumours, but the expression of the receptors as a target in thyroid disease has not been explored. To assess somatostatin (SST) and somatostatin receptor (SSTR1-5) expression in both normal and thyroid disorders, as a potential target for somatostatin analogue therapy, 67 thyroid tissue specimens were reviewed: 12 differentiated thyroid carcinomas, 14 follicular adenomas, 17 multinodular goitres, 14 Graves disease, 10 Hashimotos thyroiditis specimens and five normal thyroids. Tissue was immunostained for SST and SSTR1-5. Positivity and the degree of positivity were recorded by double-blinded observers. Somatostatin receptor expression was highly expressed in normal tissue for SSTR1, 3, 4 and 5 (5 of 5, 4 of 5, 4 of 5 and 5 of 5 respectively) whilst SST and SSTR 2a and b were not expressed at all. The commonest receptor expressed for all pathological subtypes grouped together was SSTR2b (63 specimens). The commonest receptors expressed in differentiated thyroid cancer were SSTR5 (11 of 12 specimens) and SSTR2b (10 of 12 specimens). The commonest receptor expressed in benign disease was SSTR2b (53 of 55 specimens). SSTR5 was significantly under-expressed in Graves disease (P < 0.05). This study illustrates that SSTR 1, 3, 4 and 5 are highly expressed in normal, benign and malignant thyroid tissue. SSTR 2a and 2b appear absent in normal tissue and present in benign and malignant thyroid tissue (P < 0.02). This suggests that focussed SSTR2 treatment may be a potential therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-229
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Experimental Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Analogue
  • Octreotide
  • Receptor
  • Somatostatin
  • Thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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    Atkinson, H., England, J. A., Rafferty, A., Jesudason, V., Bedford, K., Karsai, L., & Atkin, S. L. (2013). Somatostatin receptor expression in thyroid disease. International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 94(3), 226-229.