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Endocr J. 2003 Feb;50(1):77-83.

Increased expression of phosphorylated p70S6 kinase and Akt in papillary thyroid cancer tissues.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Miyakawa Hospital, 2-13-13, Kawasaki, 210-0802, Kanagawa, Japan.


Although a number of abnormalities in oncogenes have been reported in thyroid neoplasms, little information is available on the signal transduction pathway involved in neoplastic thyroid cell growth. Both p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) and Akt are kinases downstream of phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K). These kinases are phosphorylated and activated by growth factors including IGF-1, EGF/TGF-alpha, and HGF in thyroid cells. Since the receptors for these growth factors are reportedly overexpressed in human thyroid cancer, we hypothesized that the PI3K-mediated signalings are overactivated in thyroid cancers. Tumorous and adjacent normal tissues of 20 patients with papillary thyroid cancer were obtained at surgery, and expression of p70S6K and Akt were measured by Western blot. Expression of the protein levels of p70S6K was increased in tumor tissues (T) compared to normal thyroid tissues (N), and expression of phosphorylated p70S6K was also significantly increased in tumor than in surrounding normal tissues. Overexpression of p70S6K in tumor tissues was further confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Strong immunoreactivity in the cytoplasm of thyroid cancer cells was seen in the majority of cases, whereas little immunoreactivity was found in the surrounding normal portion. Expression of phosphorylated Akt (pAkt) was also significantly higher in tumor tissues. Phosphorylation of Bad (pBad), a substrate of Akt, was also increased in the tumor tissues in association with activation of Akt, and the T/N ratio for pAkt positively correlated to the T/N ratio for pBad. The data presented here demonstrate that both p70S6K and Akt are activated in the majority of human papillary cancer cells. Activation of these signalings may be involved in the progression of papillary carcinoma by stimulating cell proliferation and/or preventing apoptosis.

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