Immunohistochemical localization of p53 in human thyroid neoplasms: Correlation with biological behavior
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Molecular analyses of thyroid tumors have documented mutations in the tumor suppressor p53 gene almost exclusively in anaplastic carcinomas. In contrast, immunohistochemistry has localized p53 in differentiated papillary and follicular thyroid cancers. To establish the significance of p53 immunolocalization in these lesions, 78 thyroid tumors of follicular derivation were examined. All tumors were classified by strict criteria and the extent of tumor was determined morphologically. Immunohistochemical staining for p53 was performed on paraffin sections of formalin-fixed tumor tissue. The results of staining were correlated with diagnosis, tumor extent and clinical outcome. Immunopositivity for p53 was diffuse and strong in all five anaplastic carcinomas examined. There was no staining in five of six follicular adenomas. Four of nine follicular carcinomas had some degree of nuclear staining, but this was focal; all nine tumors were confined to the thyroid at the time of examination. Of 49 papillary carcinomas, 26 were intrathyroidal, and 7 of these were occult; there was no p53 positivity in any occult lesion and only 5 of the 19 palpable lesions stained. In contrast, among 23 papillary carcinomas with extrathyroidal extension or metastases, only 9 were negative for p53 immunoreactivity. Five of seven tall cell papillary carcinomas and one of two insular carcinomas had p53 immunopositivity and this correlated with aggressive behavior. These results support the tumorigenic role of p53 mutations postulated for anaplastic thyroid carcinomas and indicate that localization of p53 by immunohistochemistry is a useful prognostic index of clinical behavior in differentiated thyroid carcinomas of follicular cell derivation.
Key WordsThyroid neoplasia p53 immunohistochemistry
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