Pituitary neuroendocrine tumors with PIT1/SF1 co-expression show distinct clinicopathological and molecular features


Pituitary neuroendocrine tumors (PitNETs) are classified according to cell lineage, which requires immunohistochemistry for adenohypophyseal hormones and the transcription factors (TFs) PIT1, SF1, and TPIT. According to the current WHO 2022 classification, PitNETs with co-expression of multiple TFs are termed "plurihormonal". Previously, PIT1/SF1 co-expression was prevailingly reported in PitNETs, which otherwise correspond to the somatotroph lineage. However, little is known about such tumors and the WHO classification has not recognized their significance. We compiled an in-house case series of 100 tumors, previously diagnosed as somatotroph PitNETs. Following TF staining, histopathological features associated with PIT1/SF1 co-expression were assessed. Integration of in-house and publicly available sample data allowed for a meta-analysis of SF1-associated clinicopathological and molecular features across a total of 270 somatotroph PitNETs. The majority (74%, 52/70) of our densely granulated somatotroph PitNETs (DGST) unequivocally co-expressed PIT1 and SF1 (DGST-PIT1/SF1). None (0%, 0/30) of our sparsely granulated somatotroph PitNETs (SGST) stained positive for SF1 (SGST-PIT1). Among DGST, PIT1/SF1 co-expression was significantly associated with scarce FSH/LH expression and fewer fibrous bodies compared to DGST-PIT1. Integrated molecular analyses including publicly available samples confirmed that DGST-PIT1/SF1, DGST-PIT1 and SGST-PIT1 represent distinct tumor subtypes. Clinicopathological meta-analyses indicated that DGST-PIT1 respond more favorably towards treatment with somatostatin analogs compared to DGST-PIT1/SF1, while both these subtypes show an overall less aggressive clinical course than SGST-PIT1. In this study, we spotlight that DGST with co-expression of PIT1 and SF1 represent a common, yet underrecognized, distinct PitNET subtype. Our study questions the rationale of generally classifying such tumors as "plurihormonal", and calls for a refinement of the WHO classification. We propose the term "somatogonadotroph PitNET".

Bibliographical data

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16.01.2024

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© 2024. The Author(s).

PubMed 38228887