MGMT promoter methylation and immunoexpression in aggressive pituitary adenomas and carcinomas

Fateme Salehi, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Johann M. Kros, Queenie Lau, Michael Fealey, Dana Erickson, Kalman Kovacs, Eva Horvath, Ricardo V. Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


MGMT promoter hypermethylation of aggressive pituitary adenomas and pituitary carcinomas and low protein expression are implicated in improved response to treatment with temozolomide (TMZ). The aim of the present study was to investigate MGMT promoter methylation and immunoexpression in an aggressive subset of pituitary adenomas and carcinomas. Our material consisted of 12 silent subtype 3 (SS3) adenomas, 10 primary carcinomas, and 4 disseminated metastases. Two different tissue samples of 7 of the 12 SS3 adenomas and all carcinomas were analyzed for MGMT promoter methylation and immunohistochemical expression of MGMT. Immunoexpression was assessed semi-quantitatively as a percentage of immunoreactive nuclei. Overall 33% of carcinomas exhibited homogenous MGMT methylation in tumor and metastatic specimens. Low immunohistochemical MGMT expression was noted in 50% of carcinomas. Overall, 42% of the SS3 adenomas exhibited MGMT promoter methylation. MGMT immunostaining was predominantly negative (92%), with homogenous immunostaining results across different samples. Whereas all the methylated SS3 adenomas had low MGMT immunoreactivity, five unmethylated adenomas exhibited absent/low MGMT expression. There was no relationship between methylation status and MGMT immunoexpression was not apparent. MGMT methylation and low immunohistochemical expression seen in a subset of carcinomas and SS3 adenomas, suggesting that a subset of tumors may respond to treatment with TMZ. Heterogeneous MGMT methylation status in SS3 adenomas and the lack of concordance between methylation and immunohistochemical expression of MGMT suggest complex regulatory mechanisms, highlighting the need for improved methods in the research on a correlation between MGMT changes and response to TMZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-657
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • MGMT immunoexpression
  • MGMT methylation
  • Pituitary carcinoma
  • Silent subtype 3 pituitary adenoma
  • Temozolomide susceptibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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