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Oncol Lett. 2011 Nov;2(6):1025-1032. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Fascin expression in dendritic cells and tumor epithelium in thymoma and thymic carcinoma.

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  • 1Kyorin University Hospital, Tokyo.


The majority of thymomas are histologically characterized by tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Mature dendritic cells (DCs) are known to assemble lymphocytes through antigen presentation to T lymphocytes. Fascin, a 55-kDa actin-binding protein and a known marker for mature DCs, regulates filaments necessary for the formation of filopodia in cell migration. Moreover, fascin expression in various epithelial neoplasms has recently been reported to be associated with invasion of tumor cells and clinically aggressive manifestations. In the present study, we investigated fascin expression immunohistochemically in tissues of thymomas and thymic carcinomas surgically resected at our institute. A total of 34 thymomas and 5 thymic carcinomas were included. The amount and immunohistochemical intensity of both fascin(+) DCs and tumor epithelium were counted and assessed, and the clinicopathological data were also scored. Statistical analyses revealed that the amount of fascin(+) DCs with the formation of clusters was associated with lymphocyte-rich variants (p=0.002) and cortical differentiation (p=0.037) of thymoma with complication from myasthenia gravis (p=0.002). The quantity of fascin(+) epithelium was associated with a strong intensity of fascin in infiltrating DCs (p=0.002) with the formation of clusters (p=0.002) and favorable prognosis, as assessed by the Masaoka staging system (p=0.001). The amount of infiltrating DCs (p=0.024) and fascin(+) epithelium were lower in thymic carcinoma. It was concluded that fascin(+) epithelium may induce tumor immunity through the surveillance activity of fascin(+) DCs in thymic neoplasms, thus improving prognosis.

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