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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

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Differential expression patterns of estrogen receptor (ER)-β splice variants between papillary thyroid cancer and nodular thyroid goiter

Wenwu Dong, Jing Li, Yanhong Huang, Hao Zhang, Zhongyan Shan, Weiping Teng

Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(9): BR351-355

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.883344

Background:    The aim of this study was to investigate the expression patterns of estrogen receptor (ER) β1 (wild-type ERβ) and ERβ2 (ERβcx) in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and nodular thyroid goiter (NTG), and to explore the reasons for the higher incidence of PTC in women of reproductive age.
    Material/Methods:    ERβ1 and ERβ2 expression was examined immunohistochemically on paraffin-embedded thyroid tissues from 106 patients with PTC and 30 patients with NTG.
    Results:    There was significant difference in the subcellular localization of ERβ1 (P<0.001), but not in the positive percentage, between PTC and NTG specimens. No significant difference was found in the positive percentage or the subcellular distribution of ERβ2 expression between PTC and NTG specimens. Both nuclear and nucleocytoplasmic ERβ1 expressions were significantly lower in PTC lesions than in NTG tissue (P<0.001 and P<0.05, respectively), while ERβ2 expression was significantly higher in the former than the latter (P<0.05). ERβ1 expression in reproductive-aged (18~45 years) female patients with PTC was lower than that in age-matched male patients (P<0.05), while ERβ2 expression had the opposite expression profile (P<0.05). There was no significant difference in ERβ1 and ERβ2 expression between reproductive-aged and advanced reproductive-aged (>45 years) female patients with PTC.
    Conclusions:    This preliminary study indicates that the expression patterns of ERβ1 and ERβ2 differ between malignant PTC lesions and benign NTG tissue, and their expression might be involved in the female predominance of PTC during the reproductive years. The clinical and biological significance of these results await further investigation.

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