Galectin-3 is a beta-galactoside-binding protein that plays a role in cell adhesion and tumour progression. It was shown recently to diagnose malignant follicular thyroid lesions accurately. The reliability of this marker in the differential diagnosis between medullary thyroid carcinoma and C-cell hyperplasia was studied by immunohistochemistry.
Tissue specimens were obtained from 34 patients belonging to families with medullary thyroid carcinoma who underwent prophylactic thyroidectomy for RET gene mutation and/or abnormally increased plasma calcitonin levels.
Galectin-3 was expressed in 23 of 25 cases of medullary thyroid carcinoma and in none of the nine cases of C-cell hyperplasia only, giving a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 100% for the diagnosis of carcinoma. A significant association was found between higher galectin-3 expression and occurrence of lymph node metastases (P < 0.05).
Galectin-3 is a reliable diagnostic marker of medullary thyroid carcinoma, and its use may provide relevant information for prognosis and therapy.
"The specificity of anti-GAL-3 antibodies is demonstrated by negativity in control sections (CS) of the same tumor. Photos b, d, f represent a CCH case: CT and CEA are strongly positive and GAL-3 is negative in large C-cells (from Faggiano et al., 2002). CCH is defined as the presence of at least three fields containing more than or equal 50 Ccells in a single low-power field (magnification of x 100) (Santesanio et al., 1997). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To provide new insights into characterising solid cell nests and gain information that might help distinguish between solid cell nests and C cells.
Thyroid tissue specimens from patients who had undergone prophylactic thyroidectomy for familial medullary thyroid cancer were immunostained for calcitonin, carcinoembryonic antigen, and galectin 3.
Solid cell nests displayed a strong and diffuse staining for carcinoembryonic antigen and galectin 3, but not for calcitonin. C cells located at the periphery of solid cell nests and in neighbouring follicles expressed both calcitonin and carcinoembryonic antigen but not galectin 3. These three markers were positive in medullary thyroid carcinoma.
Galectin 3 immunoreactivity permits a better characterisation and differentiation between solid cell nests and C cells, avoiding the misidentification of two biologically and clinically different thyroid structures.
Journal of Clinical Pathology 03/2003; 56(2):142-3. · 2.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Galectin-3 is a 31 kDa member of a growing family of beta-galactoside-binding animal lectins. This protein is expressed in a variety of tissues and cell types and is mainly found in the cytoplasm, although, depending on cell type and proliferative state, a significant amount of this lectin can also be detected in the nucleus, on the cell surface or in the extracellular environment. Galectin-3 is secreted from cells by a novel and incompletely understood mechanism that is independent of the classical secretory pathway through the endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi network. Galectin-3 exhibits pleiotropic biological function, playing a key role in many physiological and pathological processes.
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