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Korean J Pathol. 2012 Feb;46(1):55-60. doi: 10.4132/KoreanJPathol.2012.46.1.55. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Detection of Survivin and COX-2 in Thyroid Carcinoma: Anaplastic Carcinoma Shows Overexpression of Nuclear Survivin and Low COX-2 Expression.

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Department of Pathology, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



Overexpression of survivin, a member of the inhibitors of apoptosis protein, has been reported in various carcinomas, and its interaction with cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) results in accelerated tumor progression. The purpose of this study is to investigate the immunohistochemical expression of survivin and COX-2 in benign and malignant thyroid tissues and to define its association with pathologic and clinical features.


We examined expression of survivin and COX-2 by immunohistochemistry in 334 benign and malignant thyroid tissues and evaluated their clinical significance.


Expression of survivin showed an increase along the spectrum of thyroid carcinoma progression; rarely positive in adenomatous goiter, moderately positive in papillary carcinoma, and strongly positive in anaplastic carcinoma (AC). Papillary microcarcinoma revealed the highest COX-2 positivity and AC demonstrated the lowest positivity among thyroid cancers. Node negative carcinomas showed higher COX-2 expression than node positive tumors. Survivin expression did not correlate with COX-2.


Our findings suggest that survivin overexpression may be related to the pathogenesis of AC and can be a predictor of disease progression. COX-2 may be involved in the early phase of thyroid carcinoma.


BIRC5 protein, human; Cyclooxygenase 2; Thyroid cancer, anaplastic; Thyroid gland

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