Immunohistochemical Analysis of Sodium Iodide Symporter Expression in Metastatic Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: Correlation with Radioiodine Uptake

Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.31). 12/2001; 86(11):5627-32. DOI: 10.1210/jcem.86.11.8048
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The ability of thyroid cancers to concentrate radioiodine (RAI) is dependent, in part, upon the expression and functional integrity of the sodium iodide symporter (NIS). However, some differentiated thyroid carcinomas (DTCs) and most undifferentiated thyroid carcinomas lack the ability to concentrate iodide and are thereby insensitive to 131I therapy. Variation of NIS protein expression may be an important factor in this behavior. We wished to determine whether NIS protein expression in primary DTC tumors correlated with the subsequent RAI uptake by metastatic lesions in the same patients. We obtained paraffin-embedded tissue specimens from 60 patients with metastatic thyroid cancer who had undergone total or near-total thyroidectomy at the Mayo Clinic for DTC and had known presence or absence of RAI uptake in their tumor deposits determined by total body scanning after thyroid hormone withdrawal. Tissue sections from the primary intrathyroidal tumors were subjected to immunostaining (IS) using a monoclonal antibody against human NIS. Slides were subsequently examined for specific IS by two independent reviewers. For each patient, whole body scan (WBS) uptake was recorded, and correlation between results of IS and WBS was analyzed. Of 43 patients with a positive WBS, 37 also had positive IS of their tumors. In six patients with negative IS, a positive WBS was documented, and in three of these cases TSH at the time of surgery was less than 0.3 mIU/liter. Of the 17 patients with negative WBS, 10 were also negative on IS. Positive IS accurately predicted a positive scan in our study in 84% of cases; the ability of the IS to detect all cases with a positive scan was 86%, and it increased to 90% when patients who were receiving thyroid hormone therapy at the time of surgery were excluded from the analysis. Overall, the results of our retrospective study suggest that NIS IS of the thyroidal primary tumor in patients with papillary and follicular thyroid cancers has substantial ability to predict the behavior of subsequent deposits of metastatic and recurrent cancer with respect to iodine trapping and concentration. Our findings require confirmation in prospective studies to more accurately determine the predictive ability of the test and its role in the postoperative management of patients with DTC. If confirmed, NIS IS of DTC primary lesions may prove useful in the management of patients with known or suspected metastatic thyroid cancer.

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    • "Positive NIS protein staining in primary intrathyroidal tumor was reported in 86% case of papillary cancer (Castro et al. 2001). The subsequent whole body scan with 131 I, following the endogenous TSH stimulation achieved by thyroxine withdrawal, shows positive iodide uptake in metastatic tumor in 90% patients with NIS-positive primary tumors (Castro et al. 2001). The expression of TSHR is usually retained in differentiated thyroid cancers (Brabant et al. 1991), except for insular carcinoma (Gerard et al. 2003), although significant cytoplasmic distribution has been observed (Mizukami et al. 1994, Gerard et al. 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: The sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) mediates iodide uptake in the thyroid gland and lactating breast. NIS mRNA and protein expression are detected in most thyroid cancer specimens, although functional iodide uptake is usually reduced resulting in the characteristic finding of a 'cold' or non-functioning lesion on a radioiodine image. Iodide uptake after thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) stimulation, however, is sufficient in most differentiated thyroid cancer to utilize beta-emitting radioactive iodide for the treatment of residual and metastatic disease. Elevated serum TSH, achieved by thyroid hormone withdrawal in athyreotic patients or after recombinant human thyrotropin administration, directly stimulates NIS gene expression and/or NIS trafficking to the plasma membrane, increasing radioiodide uptake. Approximately 10-20% differentiated thyroid cancers, however, do not express the NIS gene despite TSH stimulation. These tumors are generally associated with a poor prognosis. Reduced NIS gene expression in thyroid cancer is likely due in part, to impaired trans-activation at the proximal promoter and/or the upstream enhancer. Basal NIS gene expression is detected in about 80% breast cancer specimens, but the fraction with functional iodide transport is relatively low. Lactogenic hormones and various nuclear hormone receptor ligands increase iodide uptake in breast cancer cells in vitro, but TSH has no effect. A wide range of 'differentiation' agents have been utilized to stimulate NIS expression in thyroid and breast cancer using in vitro and in vivo models, and a few have been used in clinical studies. Retinoic acid has been used to stimulate NIS expression in both thyroid and breast cancer. There are similarities and differences in NIS gene regulation and expression in thyroid and breast cancer. The various agents used to enhance NIS expression in thyroid and breast cancer will be reviewed with a focus on the mechanism of action. Agents that promote tumor differentiation, or directly stimulate NIS gene expression, may result in iodine concentration in 'scan-negative' thyroid cancer and some breast cancer.
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    • "Iodide uptake by thyrocytes is mediated by NIS. Most differentiated thyroid carcinomas express NIS, and NIS expression correlates with the clinical uptake of radioiodine [169]; however, some differentiated and poorly differentiated, and most undifferentiated thyroid carcinomas fail to express NIS. These tumors lack the ability to take up enough 131-I to be effectively treated [170] [171]. "
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