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Thyroid. 1998 Aug;8(8):637-41.

Ectopic expression of bone sialoprotein in human thyroid cancer.

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Metastasis Research Laboratory, University of Liège, Belgium.


Bone sialoprotein (BSP) is a small, highly posttranslationally modified integrin binding protein found in the mineral compartment of developing bone. The recent discovery that BSP can be detected in a variety of human cancers, particularly those that metastasize preferentially to the skeleton, shed light on potential new biological functions for this protein. The demonstration of a positive association between BSP expression in primary breast tumors and the development of bone metastases suggests that this glycoprotein could play a role in the selective implantation of breast cancer cells in bone. BSP is also expressed in most lung and prostate cancers as well as in multiple myeloma, three other osteotropic malignancies. Because thyroid carcinoma also metastasizes preferentially to the skeleton, we decided to look at the expression of BSP in a collection of 145 thyroid malignant lesions including 24 follicular thyroid carcinomas (FTCs), 55 papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs), 19 medullary thyroid carcinomas (MTCs), 23 anaplastic carcinomas (ACs), and 24 poorly differentiated carcinomas (PDCs). BSP expression was evaluated by immunoperoxidase technique using two specific polyclonal antibodies. Most of the thyroid carcinomas (72%) examined expressed high levels of BSP. Expression of BSP was significantly lower in FTCs and MTCs compared with PDCs, which are more aggressive (p = 0.0009 and 0.0003, respectively). Our study demonstrates for the first time that ectopic BSP expression is a common feature of thyroid cancer. The prognostic value of BSP detection in thyroid adenocarcinoma and the potential role of BSP in the propension of this type of cancer to metastasize to bone are currently under investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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