DNA methylation state of the galectin-3 gene represents a potential new marker of thyroid malignancy

Simona Keller, Tiziana Angrisano, Ermanno Florio, Raffaela Pero, Miriam Decaussin-Petrucci, Giancarlo Troncone, Mario Capasso, Francesca Lembo, Alfredo Fusco, Lorenzo Chiariotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to supplement the cytopathological assessment of thyroid tumors, there is a need for new markers to correctly diagnose malignant thyroid lesions and avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful therapies for patients. The immunohistochemical expression of galectin-3 is currently considered to be the most accurate stand-alone marker for thyroid cancer diagnosis. The aim of this study was to establish whether the methylation state of the galectin-3 gene is a candidate molecular marker for thyroid malignancy. Thyroid specimens from 50 patients were analyzed, including 5 normal thyroid, 3 goiters, 39 papillary and 3 anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cases. High-resolution methylation analyses was performed to investigate the methylation state of a large genomic region (from -89 to +408) encompassing the galectin-3 transcriptional start site. Within this region, 5 CpG sites (nucleotide positions +134, +137, +142, +147 and +156) were observed to be differentially methylated among the samples and were further analyzed by the quantitative pyrosequencing technique. The hypomethylation of the +134, +137, +142, +147 and +156 CpG sites was observed to be markedly associated with cancer. Although the methylation degree of each single site was highly variable in non-neoplastic tissues, the average methylation state of the 5 CpG sites clearly distinguished cancer from the non-neoplastic thyroid tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-90
Number of pages5
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • DNA methylation
  • Galectin-3
  • Human thyroid cancer
  • Tumor marker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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