Gonadotropic pituitary carcinoma: HER-2/neu expression and gene amplification. Report of two cases

Federico Roncaroli, Vania Nosé, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Kalman Kovacs, Eva Horvath, William F. Young, Ricardo V. Lloyd, Mary C. Bishop, Bradley Hsi, Jonathan A. Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The authors report on two gonadotropic carcinomas of the adenohypophysis that occurred in a 55-year-old man (Case 1) and a 53-year-old woman (Case 2), with signs of mass effect and amenorrhea, respectively. Both lesions were macroadenomas. The tumor in Case 1 metastasized to dura mater, skull, nasal sinus, and larynx 2 years after patient presentation, whereas that in Case 2 spread to vertebral bodies and ribs after a 19-year latency. Histologically, the primary, recurrent, and metastatic lesions in Case 1 featured brisk mitotic activity and high MIB-1 levels as well as p53 labeling indices. Immunoreactivity for HER-2/neu was assessable only in rare neoplastic cells of the second recurrence and in 80% of cells of the dural metastasis. Low-level HER-2/neu gene amplification was evident in the recurrent tumors and metastasis. The sellar and metastatic tumors in Case 2 resembled benign gonadotropic adenoma with oncocytic change; p53 accumulation, HER-2/neu overexpression, and HER-2/neu gene amplification were not present. The results indicate that low-level amplification of the HER-2/neu gene might be associated with pituitary carcinomas in which more aggressive behavior is seen. Further studies are needed to determine whether HER-2/neu plays a role in the pathogenesis of pituitary carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-408
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Chromogenic in situ hybridization
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Gonadotropin
  • HER-2/neu
  • Pituitary carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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