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J Proteome Res. 2008 Sep;7(9):4079-88. doi: 10.1021/pr8000404. Epub 2008 Jul 30.

Fine-needle aspiration of thyroid nodules: proteomic analysis to identify cancer biomarkers.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Biotechnology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.


At present, the clinical and pathological analysis used in the diagnosis of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) are insufficient to discern tumor behavior, and new diagnostic and prognostic markers need to be identified. In this study, we performed a comparative proteome analysis to examine the global changes of fine needle aspiration fluid (FNA) protein patterns of two variants of malignant PTC (classical variant PTC (cPTC) and tall cell variant PTC (TCV)) with respect to the controls. Changes in protein expression were identified using two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE) and peptide mass fingerprinting via MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS), as well as Western blot analysis. A statistical significant up-regulation of 17 protein spots in cPTC and/or TCV with respect to controls was demonstrated. These proteins included transthyretin precursor (TTR), ferritin light chain (FLC), proteasome activator complex subunit 1 and 2, alpha-1-antitrypsin precursor, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), lactate dehydrogenase chain B (LDH-B), apolipoprotein A1 precursor (Apo-A1), annexin A1, DJ-1 protein and cofilin-1. In addition, 12 protein spots were found exclusively in cPTC and three exclusively in TCV. These latter proteins (ferritin heavy chain (FHC), peroxiredoxin 1 (PRX1) and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6-PDGH)) correspond to stress response proteins and, until now, had not been described in thyroid tumors. These findings illustrate the potential use of FNA proteomics to identify protein changes associated with thyroid cancer and to advance potential protein biomarkers in the diagnostic classification of the disease.

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