Neuroendocrine cells are often disclosed in human gastric adenocarcinomas and may be recognised by their immunoreactivity towards chromogranin A. However, in dedifferentiated neuroendocrine tumour cells, the chromogranin A content may be reduced making it difficult to detect with conventional immunohistochemical methods. We therefore used a sensitive signal amplification technique in order to evaluate chromogranin A immunoreactivity and thus neuroendocrine differentiation in 40 gastric adenocarcinomas. Neuroendocrine cells were visualised by means of a monoclonal chromogranin A antibody and the avidin-biotin peroxidase complex technique, without and with addition of tyramide signal amplification. Double immunohistochemistry towards chromogranin A and Ki-67 were used to disclose proliferation in the neoplastic cells. A marked increase in the number of carcinomas containing chromogranin A-immunoreactive neoplastic cells was noted when applying the tyramide signal amplification technique. In addition, the number of immunoreactive cells within each tumour increased, and in some cases almost all the neoplastic cells became immunoreactive. Chromogranin A-immunoreactive tumour cells showing signs of proliferation were found in the majority of these carcinomas. In conclusion, we have disclosed widespread immunoreactivity towards chromogranin A in a proportion of gastric adenocarcinomas when enhancing the signal with tyramide signal amplification. Neuroendocrine differentiation is thus a common finding in gastric carcinomas when using sensitive methods.
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