✓ At the start of transsphenoidal microsurgery for removal of various types of pituitary adenomas, 21 patients received a 1-hour intravenous infusion of 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR, 200 mg/sq m) to label tumor cells in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis phase (S-phase). Excised tumor specimens were fixed in 70% ethanol and stained by the indirect peroxidase method using anti-BUdR monoclonal antibody as the first antibody. The percentage of BUdR-labeled cells, or S-phase fraction, was calculated for each specimen. The S-phase fraction was less than 0.1% in nine cases, 0.1% to 0.5% in seven, and greater than 0.5% in five. Except in two cases of Nelson's syndrome, in which it was greater than 1%, the S-phase fraction did not correlate with any other variable, including patient age, tumor size, or the duration of signs and symptoms.
The small S-phase fraction of most of the pituitary adenomas correlates well with the clinical behavior of these tumors, which grow much more slowly than other kinds of brain tumors such as gliomas. However, the S-phase fractions varied by as much as one order of magnitude. The higher S-phase fractions may reflect aggressive and invasive growth. These results indicate that immunohistochemical studies of cell kinetics using BUdR and anti-BUdR monoclonal antibodies may provide information about the biological characteristics of pituitary adenomas which could lead to the design of appropriate treatment regimens (including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy) for individual patients.