Background/Aim: Germline mutations in any of the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) genes result in destabilization of the SDH protein complex and loss of SDHB expression at immunohistochemistry. SDHA is lost together with SDHB in SDHA-mutated tumours, but its expression is retained in tumours with other SDH mutations. We investigated whether SDHA/SDHB immunohistochemistry is able to identify SDH-related tumours in a retrospective case series of phaeochromocytomas (PCCs) and paragangliomas (PGLs). Materials and Methods: SDHA and SDHB immunostaining was performed in 13 SDH genemutated tumours (SDHB: n=3; SDHC: n=1; SDHD: n=9) and 16 wild-type tumours. Protein expression by western blot analysis and enzymatic activity were also assessed. Results: Tumours harbouring SDH gene mutations demonstrated a significant reduction in enzymatic activity and protein expression when compared to wild-type tumours. SDHB immunostaining detected 76.9% of SDH mutated PCCs/PGLs (3/3 SDHB-mutated samples; 1/1 SDHCmutated sample; 6/9 SDHD-mutated samples). In three SDHD-related tumours with the same mutation (p.Pro81Leu), positive (n=2) or weakly diffuse (n=1) SDHB staining was observed. All wild-type PCCs/PGLs exhibited SDHB immunoreactivity, while immunostaining for SDHA was positive in 93.8% cases and weakly diffuse in one (6.2%). SDHA protein expression was preserved in all tumours with mutations. Conclusion: SDHA and SDHB immunohistochemistry should be interpreted with caution, due to possible false-positive or false-negative results, and ideally in the setting of quality assurance provided by molecular testing. In SDHD mutation, weak non-specific cytoplasmic staining occurs commonly, and this pattern of staining can be difficult to interpret with certainty.
Potential pitfalls of SDH immunohistochemical detection in paragangliomas and phaeochromocytomas harbouring germline SDHx gene mutation / Santi R.; Rapizzi E.; Canu L.; Ercolino T.; Baroni G.; Fucci R.; Costa G.; Mannelli M.; Nesi G.. - In: ANTICANCER RESEARCH. - ISSN 0250-7005. - STAMPA. - 37:(2017), pp. 805-812. [10.21873/anticanres.11381]