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J Pathol. 1999 Jun;188(2):163-7.

Expression of EDA/EDB isoforms of fibronectin in papillary carcinoma of the thyroid.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Patologia, Università 'La Sapienza', Roma, Italy.


Cellular fibronectins containing the extracellular domain A or B (EDA and EDB) are particularly abundant in fetal and neoplastic tissues. The presence of EDA and EDB was investigated in 28 cases of papillary carcinoma of the thyroid using IST-9 and BC-1 monoclonal antibodies. Immunostaining for EDA and EDB was detected in tumour stroma, in tumour basement membranes, and in tumour blood vessels. EDA was present in 27 of the 28 cases, in 20 of which more than 75 per cent of the tumour stroma was stained. Immunostaining for EDB was detected in 23 of the 28 cases and was less pronounced than that for EDA, being present in less than 25 per cent of the tumour stroma in most cases. Reactivity for EDA/EDB was not observed in the adjacent normal thyroid in any of the cases investigated. In a group of 20 non-papillary tumours, immunostaining for EDA was present in the stroma of three follicular carcinomas (one minimally and two widely invasive), one medullary carcinoma, and 5 of 16 follicular adenomas; expression of EDB was more restricted, being present in only the two cases of widely invasive follicular carcinoma. The presence of EDA and EDB was not correlated with the extent of fibrosis or the degree of tumour cell differentiation. Immunoreactivity was already present in microcarcinomas. These observations raise the possibility that the production of oncofetal fibronectins is an important step in papillary carcinoma tumourigenesis, perhaps facilitating adhesion and spreading of tumour cells.

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