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Glucocorticoid receptor expression in 20 solid tumor types using immunohistochemistry assay

Authors Block TS, Murphy TI, Munster PN, Nguyen DP, Lynch FJ

Received 12 October 2016

Accepted for publication 29 January 2017

Published 6 March 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 65—72

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S124475

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kenan Onel


Thaddeus S Block,1,2 Tiffany I Murphy,3 Pamela N Munster,4 Dat P Nguyen,1 Frank J Lynch3

1Corcept Therapeutics, Inc, Menlo Park, CA, 2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 3QualTek Molecular Laboratories, Newtown, PA, 4Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA


Background: Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) activity plays a role in many aspects of human physiology and may play a crucial role in chemotherapy resistance in a wide variety of solid tumors. A novel immunohistochemistry (IHC) based assay has been previously developed and validated in order to assess GR immunoreactivity in triple-negative breast cancer. The current study investigates the standardized use of this validated assay to assess GR expression in a broad range of solid tumor malignancies.
Methods: Archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor bank samples (n=236) from 20 different solid tumor types were analyzed immunohistochemically. Nuclear staining was reported based on the H-score method using differential intensity scores (0, 1+, 2+, or 3+) with the percent stained (out of at least 100 carcinoma cells) recorded at each intensity.
Results: GR was expressed in all tumor types that had been evaluated. Renal cell carcinoma, sarcoma, cervical cancer, and melanoma were those with the highest mean H‑scores, indicating high levels of GR expression. Colon, endometrial, and gastric cancers had lower GR staining percentages and intensities, resulting in the lowest mean H‑scores.
Conclusion: A validated IHC assay revealed GR immunoreactivity in all solid tumor types studied and allowed for standardized comparison of reactivity among the different malignancies.
Impact: Baseline expression levels of GR may be a useful biomarker when pharmaceutically targeting GR in research or clinical setting.

Keywords: glucocorticoid receptor expression, immunohistochemistry, solid tumors

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