Exclusion of Histiocytes/Endothelial Cells and Using Endothelial Cells as Internal Reference Are Crucial for Interpretation of MGMT Immunohistochemistry in Glioblastoma

*Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine ‡Neurology §Radiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital †School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
The American journal of surgical pathology (Impact Factor: 5.15). 12/2012; 37(2). DOI: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e318267b061
Source: PubMed


We evaluated the predictive value of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) protein expression and MGMT promoter methylation status in glioblastomas (GBM) treated with temozolomide (TMZ) in a Taiwan medical center. Protein expression by immunohistochemical analysis (IHC) and MGMT promoter methylation detected by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) were performed in a series of 107 newly diagnosed GBMs. We used endothelial cells as an internal reference for IHC staining because the staining intensities of the MGMT-expressing cells in different specimens varied considerably; a positive result was defined as the staining intensity of the majority of tumor cells similar to that of the adjacent endothelial cells. Immunostainings for microglial/endothelial markers were included as part of the MGMT IHC evaluation, and in cases that were difficult to interpret, double-labeling helped to clarify the nature of reactive cells. The MGMT protein expression was reversely associated with MGMT promoter methylation status in 83.7% of cases (MSP/IHC and MSP/IHC; Pearson r=-0.644, P<0.001). Twenty-two of 24 (91.7%) IHC tumors did not respond to TMZ treatment. Combining MSP and IHC results, all the 15 MSP/IHC GBMs were TMZ resistant. The MGMT status detected by either IHC or MSP was significantly correlated with the TMZ treatment response (both P<0.001) and survival of GBM patients (both P<0.05).

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