Pedro Marques 1 , Sayka Barry 1 , Eivind Carlsen 2 , David Collier 1 , Amy Ronaldson 1 , Neil Dorward 3 , Joan Grieve 3 , Nigel Mendoza 4 , Ramesh Nair 4 , Samiul Muquit 5 , Ashley B. Grossman 1 , Márta Korbonits , 1
18 September 2020
Angiogenesis has been studied in pituitary neuroendocrine tumours (PitNETs), but the role of the tumour microenvironment (TME) in regulating PitNET angiogenesis remains unknown. We aimed to characterise the role of TME components in determining the angiogenetic PitNET profile, focusing on immune cells and tumour-derived cytokines.
Immune cells were studied by immunohistochemistry in 24 human PitNETs (16 non-functioning-PitNETs (NF-PitNETs) and 8 somatotrophinomas): macrophages (CD68, CD163, HLA-DR), cytotoxic (CD8) and T helper (CD4) lymphocytes, regulatory T cells (FOXP3), B cells (CD20) and neutrophils (neutrophil elastase); endothelial cells were assessed with CD31. Five normal pituitaries (NP) were included for comparison. Microvessel density and vascular morphology were estimated with ImageJ. The cytokine secretome from these PitNETs were assessed on culture supernatants using a multiplex immunoassay panel.
Microvessel density/area was higher in NP than PitNETs, which also had rounder and more regular vessels. NF-PitNETs had vessels of increased calibre compared to somatotrophinomas. The M2:M1 macrophage ratio correlated with microvessel area. PitNETs with more CD4+ T cells had higher microvessel area, while tumours with more FOXP3+ cells were associated with lower microvessel density. PitNETs with more B cells had rounder vessels. Of the 42 PitNET-derived cytokines studied, CCL2, CXCL10 and CX3CL1 correlated with microvessel density and vessel architecture parameters.