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Low 06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) expression and response to temozolomide in aggressive pituitary tumours


Context: Recent case reports detail the successful use of temozolomide in the management of aggressive pituitary tumours. 06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is a DNA repair protein that counteracts the effect of temozolomide. Objective: To study MGMT expression in pituitary tumours and consider whether MGMT expression is associated with response to temozolomide therapy in aggressive pituitary tumours. Patients: We report 2 patients with aggressive pituitary tumours treated with temozolomide, one who responded to temozolomide, and the other who did not. MGMT expression was assessed in a further 88 archived pituitary tumour samples. Design: MGMT expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry. MGMT promoter methylation was studied by methylation-specific PCR (MSP), sequencing of MGMT was performed and loss of heterozygosity analysis undertaken. Results: Low MGMT expression and MGMT promoter methylation was found in the pituitary tumour of the patient who responded to temozolomide. Conversely, high MGMT expression was seen in the patient demonstrating a poor response to temozolomide. Eleven out of 88 archived tumour samples (13%) had low MGMT expression. Prolactinomas were more likely to have low MGMT expression compared with other pituitary tumour subtypes (p<0.001). There was no significant difference in MGMT expression between invasive and non-invasive tumours, or between recurrent and non-recurrent tumours. A significant inverse correlation was found between MGMT expression and promoter methylation (p=0.012). Conclusion: MGMT expression as assessed by immunohistochemistry may predict response to temozolomide therapy in patients with aggressive pituitary tumours. MGMT promoter methylation is likely to explain low MGMT expression in some, but not all, pituitary tumours.

Type Journal
ISBN 1365-2265 (Electronic)
Authors McCormack, A.I.; McDonald, K.L.; Gill, A.J.; Clark, S.J.; Burt, M.G.; Campbell, K.A.; Braund, W.J.; Little, N.S.; Cook, R.J.; Grossman A.B.; Robinson, B.G.; Clifton-Bligh, R.J.
Garvan Authors Prof Susan Clark
Published Date 2009-08-01 00:00:00
Published Volume 71
Published Issue 2
Published Pages 226-233
Status Published In-print
OpenAccess Link JCE 09.pdf