Peters MAM, Meijer C, Fehrmann RSN, Walenkamp AME, Kema IP, de Vries EGE, Hollema H, Oosting SF.
In preclinical studies serotonin stimulates and dopamine inhibits tumour growth and angiogenesis. Information regarding serotonin and dopamine receptor (5-HTR and DRD) expression in human cancers is limited. Therefore, we screened a large tumour set for receptor mRNA overexpression using functional genomic mRNA (FGmRNA) profiling, and we analysed protein expression and location of 5-HTR1B, 5-HTR2B, DRD1, and DRD2 with immunohistochemistry in different tumour types. With FGmRNA profiling 11,756 samples representing 43 tumour types were compared to 3,520 normal tissue samples to analyse receptor overexpression. 5-HTR2B overexpression was present in many tumour types, most frequently in uveal melanomas (56%). Receptor overexpression in rare cancers included 5-HTR1B in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (17%), DRD1 in ependymoma (30%) and synovial sarcoma (21%), and DRD2 in astrocytoma (13%). Immunohistochemistry demonstrated high 5-HTR2B protein expression on melanoma and gastro-intestinal stromal tumour cells and endothelial cells of colon, ovarian, breast, renal and pancreatic tumours. 5-HTR1B expression was predominantly low. High DRD2 protein expression on tumour cells was observed in 48% of pheochromocytomas, and DRD1 expression ranged from 14% in melanoma to 57% in renal cell carcinoma. In conclusion, 5-HTR1B, 5-HTR2B, DRD1, and DRD2 show mRNA overexpression in a broad spectrum of common and rare cancers. 5-HTR2B protein is frequently highly expressed in human cancers, especially on endothelial cells. These findings support further investigation of especially 5HTR2B as a potential treatment target.