Endocrine Pathology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 275–279 | Cite as

Differential reactivity for galectin-3 in Hürthle cell adenomas and carcinomas

  • Maria Carolina P. A. Nascimento
  • Helio Bisi
  • Venancio A. F. Alves
  • Adhemar Longatto-Filho
  • Cristina T. Kanamura
  • Geraldo Medeiros-NetoEmail author
Clinical Research


Hürthle cell carcinomas behave as the most aggressive variant of differentiated thyroid carcinoma of follicular origin, with frequent recurrences and higher morbidity. Its differential diagnosis with Hürthle cell adenoma remains a problem for the clinician and for the pathologist. The vertebrate lectins, galectin-1 and galectin-3 have been implicated in the regulation of cellular growth, differentiation, and malignant transformation in thyroid neoplasms. Galectin-3, a β-galactoside binding protein, has been recently found to be highly expressed in papillary and follicular carcinomas. The current study was undertaken to investigate immunohistochemical reactivity for galectin-3 of thyroid specimen tissues with Hürthle cell adenomas (n=14) and carcinomas (n=17), follicular (n=14) and papillary (n=11) carcinomas, colloid goiter (n=30), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (n=11), follicular adenoma (n=9), and normal thyroid tissues (n=18). Follicular (78.5%) and papillary (82.0%) carcinomas were frequently reactive for galectin-3, more often when some Hürthle cells were present. There was no galectin-3 immunostaining in any of the specimens from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, colloid goiters or normal thyroid samples, whereas only one case of follicular adenoma was found positive (11.1%). By contrast, galectin-3 immunostaining in Hürthle cell carcinomas was significantly higher (59%) than in Hürthle cell adenomas (7.1%, p<0.05). These results suggest that galectin-3 may potentially serve as a marker in difficult differential diagnosis cases involving Hürthle cell adenomas and Hürthle cell carcinomas.

Key Words

Galectin-3 Hürthle cell carcinoma adenoma immunohistochemistry thyroid neoplasms 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Carolina P. A. Nascimento
    • 1
  • Helio Bisi
    • 2
  • Venancio A. F. Alves
    • 2
  • Adhemar Longatto-Filho
    • 3
  • Cristina T. Kanamura
    • 3
  • Geraldo Medeiros-Neto
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Thyroid Unit (LIM-25)Univ Sao Paulo Med SchoolSao PauloBrazil
  2. 2.PathologyUniv Sao Paulo Med SchoolSao PauloBrazil
  3. 3.State Health DivInst Adolfo LutzSao PauloBrazil

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