Transforming growth factor beta receptors and p27kip in thyroid carcinoma.

To investigate the role of cell cycle regulators in the pathogenesis of papillary carcinoma of the thyroid.

Resistance to transforming growth factor beta-mediated inhibition is a well-known pathogenic mechanism in epithelial neoplasias. In a retrospective study, the expression of transforming growth factor beta receptors types I and II, cyclin D1, and the cyclin-dependent inhibitor p27kip, was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Results were interpreted in the context of clinicopathological data. Patient follow-up ranged from 1 to 18 years, with a mean of 4 years.

Twenty conventional primary papillary carcinomas and their metastases were selected according to current pathologic criteria. Nonconventional papillary carcinomas (eg, tall-cell, columnar) were excluded from the analysis.

Cyclin D1 was expressed more intensely in the tumor than in adjacent nonneoplastic parenchyma. Within a given tumor, however, there was significant heterogeneity in expression intensity and percentage of positive cells, particularly in metastases. Type I receptors were strongly expressed in 90% of tumors, while 80% of the tumors revealed low to no expression of type II receptors. In 10% of tumors, type I receptors were absent and type II receptors expressed. Simultaneous absence of both receptors was not observed. While p27kip was strongly expressed in nonneoplastic thyroid, it was not detected in any of the primary tumors or their metastases.

The results strongly suggest that functional abnormalities in type II receptors result in increased levels of cyclin D1 and down-regulation of p27kip. This would maintain cells in a proliferative state and would promote tumor progression.

Klotch D, Livingston S, Muro-Cacho CA, Muñoz-Antonia T


Arch. Otolaryngol. Head Neck Surg., 1999, 125 (1)

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