Quantitative digital image analysis of somatostatin receptor 2 immunohistochemistry in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

Hirofumi Watanabe, Rioko Ide, Yuto Yamazaki, Fumiyoshi Fujishima, Atsuko Kasajima, Samaneh Yazdani, Tomoyoshi Tachibana, Fuyuhiko Motoi, Michiaki Unno, Hironobu Sasano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Immunohistochemical analysis of somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) provides important information regarding the potential therapeutic efficacy of somatostatin analogues (SSAs) in patients with neuroendocrine tumors. HER2 scoring has been proposed to interpret SSTR2 immunoreactivity but their reproducibility was relatively low because of its intrinsic subjective nature. Digital image analysis (DIA) has recently been proposed as an objective and more precise method of evaluating immunoreactivity. Therefore, in this study, we used DIA for analyzing SSTR2 immunoreactivity in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) to obtain its H score and “(%) strong positive cells” and compared the results with those of manually obtained HER2 scores. Membranous SSTR2 immunoreactivity evaluated by DIA was calculated by two scales as: “Membrane Optical Density” and “Minimum Membrane Completeness”. PanNETs with HER2 score of > 2 demonstrated the highest concordance with results of “(%) strong positive cells” obtained by DIA when “Minimum Membrane Completeness” was tentatively set at 80%. The SSTR2 immunoreactivity, evaluated based on all scoring systems, was different between grades G1 and G2 in insulinoma but not in non-functional PanNETs. DIA provided reproducible results of SSTR2 immunoreactivity in PanNETs and yielded important information as to the potential application of SSAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-336
Number of pages13
JournalMedical Molecular Morphology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec


  • Digital image analysis
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor
  • SSTR2


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