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Insulin-like growth factor 1 expression in thyroid tumors.

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Istituto di Anatomia Patologica, Università degli Studi di Bari, Italy.


Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) likely is involved in thyrocyte proliferation via autocrine mechanisms, but limited data are available on its in vivo expression in thyroid neoplasms. This prompted us to explore IGF-1 expression at the protein and mRNA levels and IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1rec) immunoreactivity in normal and neoplastic thyroids (50 adenomas and 53 carcinomas). We documented increased IGF-1 and IGF-1rec immunoreactivity in adenomas (31 of 50 and 40 of 50 cases, respectively) and carcinomas (38 of 53 and 42 of 53 cases) compared with normal thyroid, which only showed minimal immunoreactivity for the ligand and its receptor. A corresponding up-regulation of IGF-1 mRNA was documented in carcinomas, whereas adenomas exhibited down-regulated expression of IGF-1 mRNA. Immunoreactivity for IGF-1 and cognate receptor positively correlated with tumor diameter and wide intrathyroidal extension but not with patients' gender and age or with the stage of the tumors and the occurrence of lymph node metastases. These data emphasize a possible role of the IGF-1 system in thyroid tumorigenesis, as indicated by in vitro studies. In addition, the evaluation of IGF-1 and IGF-1rec immunoreactivity might have clinical implications, because it positively correlates with the aggressiveness of these tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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