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Am J Surg Pathol. 1994 Oct;18(10):1054-64.

A novel panel of antibodies that segregates immunocytochemically poorly differentiated carcinoma from undifferentiated carcinoma of the thyroid gland.

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Division of Anatomic Pathology and Cytology, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Milano, Italy.


The expression of bcl-2 and p53 was investigated by immunocytochemistry in combination with that of conventional structural and differentiation antigens on the archival material of 22 cases of undifferentiated carcinoma (UC) and 19 of poorly differentiated carcinoma (PDC) of the thyroid gland. The restriction of bcl-2 expression to PDC in comparison to UC was 84.2% versus 13.6% of cases, respectively, in contrast to an almost equal percentage of p53 expression in the two histologic types, that is, 52.6% and 54.5% of cases of PDC and UC, respectively. However, the pattern of distribution of p53-immunoreactive cells was definitely different, being restricted to areas showing active infiltrating growth in PDC and involving almost all tumor cells in UC. Furthermore, in the subset of cases of UC showing the residual presence of a differentiated component, a distinctive mutual exclusion of bcl-2 and p53 immunoreactivity was observed in the two components. The results suggest that the evaluation of bcl-2 expression may be usefully applied to the differentiation of PDC from UC, whereas all morphologic findings related to p53 expression are in keeping with a significant role of the deregulation of this gene in the mechanism of dedifferentiation and progression of the disease.

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