Immunohistochemical expression of aromatase and estrogen, androgen and progesterone receptors in normal and neoplastic human meningeal cells


Carolina Garcia Soares Leães, PhD, Neuroendocrinology Center, Complexo Hospitalar Santa Casa, Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), Rua Faria Santos, 132, Porto Alegre, RS 90670-150, Brazil. Email:


Evidence suggests that sex hormones may play a role in the tumorigenesis of meningiomas, and studies have demonstrated the expression of hormone receptors in these tumors. Aromatase expression has been detected in several normal tissues, including neurons in the CNS, and tumor tissues. We aim to assess the expression of aromatase (ARO) and of progesterone receptor (PR), estrogen receptor (ER) and androgen receptor (AR) in both normal and neoplastic meningeal cells. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 126 patients diagnosed with meningioma (97 women and 29 men; mean age, 53.6 years) submitted to neurosurgery at Hospital São José, Complexo Hospitalar Santa Casa de Porto Alegre, southern Brazil. Control sections of normal meningeal cells, 19 patients, were obtained by evaluating the arachnoid tissue present in the arachnoid cyst resected material. Immunohistochemistry was applied to assess ARO, PR, ER and AR. Aromatase expression was detected in 100% of the control patients and in 0% of the patients with meningioma. ER was present in 24.6% of the meningiomas and in 0% of the controls, AR in 18.3% of the meningiomas and in 0% of the controls, and PR in 60.3% of the meningiomas and in 47.4% of the controls. A positive association was observed between the presence of AR and ER (OR 3.7; P = 0.01) in meningiomas. There were no significant differences in the presence of hormone receptors between meningioma histological subtypes. PR expression in women with meningioma was significantly higher than that found in men (OR 2.3; P = 0.08). Behavior pattern differences observed between aromatase expression, present in normal tissues and absent in meningiomas, and estrogen and androgen hormone receptors, absent in normal tissues and present in meningiomas, suggest that there is heterogeneity in modulation by sex steroids in the development of these tumors.