Virchows Archiv

, Volume 450, Issue 4, pp 433–439

Expression of sex steroid hormone receptors in C cell hyperplasia and medullary thyroid carcinoma

  • Claire Bléchet
  • Pierre Lecomte
  • Loïc De Calan
  • Patrice Beutter
  • Serge Guyétant
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00428-007-0379-6

Cite this article as:
Bléchet, C., Lecomte, P., De Calan, L. et al. Virchows Arch (2007) 450: 433. doi:10.1007/s00428-007-0379-6


Previous studies have shown that C cells are twice as numerous in male than in female thyroids and that C cell hyperplasia (CCH) is much more frequent in men. These findings suggest regulation involving sex steroid hormones through the expression of sex steroid hormone receptors on C cells. To investigate this hypothesis, we performed an immunohistochemical study of estrogen receptors α (ERα) and β (ERβ), progesterone receptors (PR), and androgen receptors (AR) on specimens from a series of 40 patients operated on for a medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC; n = 28; female 18, male 10) and/or CCH (n = 19; female 6, male 13). ERβ was the only receptor to be consistently expressed in CCH (100%) and MTC (96.5%), whereas ERα was never expressed. PR and AR were rarely expressed in MTC (7 and 14%, respectively). AR was expressed in half the CCH cases (53%), with a trend to male predominance (61% in men vs 33% in women). Our study is the first to describe ERβ expression in CCH. In addition, our findings suggest that CCH, and possibly MTC, might be influenced by sex steroid hormones, namely, estrogens and androgens, through the expression of ERβ and AR on C cells.


C cell C cell hyperplasia Medullary thyroid carcinoma Estrogen receptors Androgen receptors 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire Bléchet
    • 1
  • Pierre Lecomte
    • 2
  • Loïc De Calan
    • 3
  • Patrice Beutter
    • 4
  • Serge Guyétant
    • 5
  1. 1.Service d’Anatomie et Cytologie PathologiquesHôpital Bretonneau, CHRU de ToursToursFrance
  2. 2.Service d’EndocrinologieHôpital Bretonneau, CHRU de ToursToursFrance
  3. 3.Service de Chirurgie Digestive et EndocrinienneHôpital Trousseau, CHRU de ToursToursFrance
  4. 4.Service d’Oto-rhino-laryngologieHôpital Bretonneau, CHRU de ToursToursFrance
  5. 5.Service d’Anatomie et Cytologie PathologiquesHôpital Trousseau, CHRU de ToursTours Cedex 9France

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