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Hum Pathol. 2006 Dec;37(12):1592-600. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

A novel tumor marker, Niban, is expressed in subsets of thyroid tumors and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Niban is a recently identified molecular marker of renal carcinogenesis in the Tsc2 gene-mutant Eker rat. Niban expression is most dramatically increased in the early stage of renal carcinogenesis and might decline during malignant progression. Niban is also expressed in various histologic types of human renal cell carcinoma. Therefore, Niban might be a good marker for renal carcinogenesis in both animal models and humans. In the present study, we examined Niban expression in various thyroid lesions by immunohistochemical staining using polyclonal rabbit antihuman Niban antibody. Normal thyroid tissue never stained for Niban. Niban was most frequently expressed in tumors with oxyphilic cytoplasm, including oxyphilic variants of papillary carcinoma (4/4 = 100%), oxyphilic variants of follicular adenoma (7/7 = 100%), and oxyphilic variants of follicular carcinoma (5/5 = 100%). Eighty-one percent (44/54) of papillary carcinoma cases, including microcarcinomas, and follicular variants were also positively stained for Niban at variable intensities. Follicular carcinomas were less frequently and less intensely stained. In nonneoplastic lesions, cells were rarely positively stained. In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, scattered cells with oxyphilic cell metaplasia were weakly Niban-positive. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis of frozen tissue confirmed Niban expression at the molecular level in 4 cases of papillary carcinoma. Taken together, Niban expression is up-regulated in various types of thyroid tumors. We postulate that Niban expression may play an important role in the tumorigenic process of the thyroid in several scenarios. (1) Niban expression may be closely related to the carcinogenic process, especially from the early stage of papillary thyroid carcinoma. (2) Niban may be closely associated with altered mitochondrial functions in preneoplastic and neoplastic processes of the thyroid. (3) Niban may be a molecular marker of the oxyphilic phenotype under various conditions. Further functional studies of Niban will clarify the role of Niban in various thyroid lesions.

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