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Utility of GATA-3 Expression in the Analysis of Pituitary Neuroendocrine Tumour (PitNET) Transcription Factors

Endocrine Pathology
John Turchini, Loretta Sioson, Adele Clarkson, Amy Sheen, Anthony J. Gill
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With the introduction of the WHO 2017 classification of endocrine neoplasms, the use of the pituitary transcription factors PIT-1, Tpit and SF-1 has become the standard of care. However, immunohistochemistry for these transcription factors is not available in all institutions, and their reliability has been questioned. We read with interest the findings of Mete et al. that GATA-3 expression was detected in some pituitary neuroendocrine tumours (PitNET). We therefore sort to validate this in our large cohort of PitNETs. We searched the database of Royal North Shore Hospital for PitNETs between 1998 and 2012, constructed a tissue microarray and reclassified these entities based on their expression for PIT-1, Tpit and SF-1. We then scored the expression of GATA-3 immunohistochemistry on a scale of 0–2, where 0 was no staining, 1 was patchy or weak staining and 2 was strong and diffuse staining. 265 of 346 tumours were able to be classified into a specific tumour subtype, and 263 tumours had tissue available for GATA-3 immunohistochemistry. 89% of gonadotrophs and 93% of triple-negative tumours with expression for luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone were positive for GATA-3. In the triple-negative group, GATA-3 was positive in 1 mammosomatotroph and 80% of tumours with thyroid-stimulating hormone expression. In the triple-negative hormone-negative group, 21 of 33 tumours were positive (64%). The results demonstrate that GATA-3 is a useful marker to supplement the existing pituitary transcription factors, albeit slightly less sensitive and specific than previously reported. GATA-3 may be employed in addition to the current array of immunohistochemical transcription factors, especially in the resource poor setting. However, given its potential cross-reactivity with other entities of the Sella, positive staining should be interpreted with caution and in the morphological and clinical context.

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