High prevalence of cyclooxygenase 2 expression in papillary thyroid carcinoma.
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BACKGROUND: Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) seems to play a role in the development and carcinogenesis of papillary thyroid carcinoma. Its incidence of expression and potential application as a tumor marker remain to be elucidated.Materials and methods: Immunohistochemical staining for COX-2 expression was performed for 30 papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and 40 benign thyroid specimens. COX-2 mRNA expression was analyzed using a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for paired fresh frozen tissues removed from surgically resected PTC specimens. RESULTS: COX-2 expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in 27 of 30 (90%) PTC but was absent in 40 benign thyroid specimens, including 27 nodular hyperplasia, 7 follicular adenoma and 6 lymphocytic thyroiditis. Two of the three COX-2 negative carcinomas were follicular variant of PTC. RT-PCR analysis confirmed COX-2 mRNA over-expression in 14 of 20 (70%) paired specimens of PTC. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR showed that the level of COX-2 mRNA expression was significantly higher in PTC than in both the adjacent non-cancerous tissues and the benign thyroid specimens. CONCLUSION: COX-2 is frequently expressed in PTC but not in benign thyroid specimens. COX-2 expression may serve as a useful molecular marker for PTC in cases of diagnostic difficulty.
European Journal of Endocrinology