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J Endocrinol. 1999 Apr;161(1):41-9.

Vascular endothelial growth factor gene and protein: strong expression in thyroiditis and thyroid carcinoma.

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Clinique Médicale et Endocrinologique, Laboratoire d'Anatomie Pathologique, Service de Chirurgie C and Service d'ORL, Centre Hospitalier et Universitaire de Nancy, 54000 Nancy, France.


Angiogenesis is implicated in several pathological conditions, such as inflammation and tumor growth. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), also known as vascular permeability factor, is a potent stimulator of endothelial cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. The present work aimed to compare VEGF expression in human normal thyroid glands, thyroiditis tissue and thyroid carcinomas using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization (ISH). Both chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis and differentiated thyroid carcinomas were found to strongly express VEGF mRNA and encode larger amounts of VEGF than normal thyroid tissue as attested by a VEGF immunostaining score. In addition, tumor samples from patients with metastases showed a higher immunostaining score than their non-metastatic counterparts (P<0.05). Carcinomas with the greatest contents of VEGF mRNA and VEGF protein had the most intense mitogenic activity. Special focus on endothelial cells showed intense mitogenic activity in neoplastic tissues in contrast to the total quiescence of endothelial cells in non-tumoral tissues. An intense VEGF production by differentiated thyroid carcinoma, attested either by a higher immunostaining score or a strong VEGF mRNA expression using ISH, could be a promising marker of tumor aggressiveness and may also be useful as a predictor of metastatic potential.

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