Horm Metab Res 2009; 41(5): 397-401
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1202788
Humans, Clinical

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Nestin as a Marker in the Classification of Adrenocortical Tumors

A. Lachenmayer 1 , U. D. Lichtenauer 2 , T. Cox 3 , M. Schott 3 , L. K. Malendowicz 4 , P. E. Goretzki 5 , K. Cupisti 1 , W. A. Scherbaum 3 , S. R. Bornstein 6 , H. S. Willenberg 3
  • 1Department of General, Visceral and Pediatric Surgery, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 2Division of Endocrinology, Medical Department II, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • 3Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Rheumatology, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 4Department of Histology and Embryology, School of Medicine Poznan, Poznan, Poland
  • 5Department of Surgery I, Lukas Hospital Neuss, Neuss, Germany
  • 6Department of Medicine III, Medical Faculty of the Technical University Dresden, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

received 27.03.2008

accepted 08.01.2009

Publication Date:
17 March 2009 (online)


Expression of the intermediate filament, nestin, was long believed to be restricted to neuroectodermal stem cells. However, nestin expression has recently been detected in several tumors. Since adrenocortical carcinoma, a tumor entity still very difficult to classify, may gain the ability to aberrantly express neuroectodermal proteins including chromogranin A and synaptophysin, we asked the question whether nestin might also be detected in adrenocortical carcinomas, and if so, whether it might serve as a tool for clinical pathology. Therefore, we studied the expression of nestin in normal adrenal glands, adrenocortical adenomas, and adrenocortical cancers using specific immunohistochemistry and semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Immunostaining was nestin-positive in 1 out of 9 normal adrenal glands (11%), 2 out of 20 adrenocortical adenomas (10%), and 13 out of 16 adrenocortical carcinomas (81%). Expression of nestin mRNA could be detected in all microdissected tissues, independently of their grade of dedifferentiation. We conclude that our findings provide further evidence that nestin, as a marker, is not restricted to neuronal stem cells and nestin expression is worth to be studied in adrenocortical tumors.



H. S. Willenberg, MD 

Department of Endocrinology

Diabetes and Rheumatology

University Hospital Düsseldorf

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40225 Düsseldorf


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