Estrogen receptor (ER) and androgen receptor (AR) may be expressed in thyroid tumors, but their prognostic role is controversial. We investigated whether ER and AR expressions could confer a more aggressive phenotype to thyroid tumors. We enrolled 91 patients (13 males and 78 females, mean age 49.3 ± 14.8 years) bearing small (T1 in the 2006 TNM system) differentiated thyroid cancers (DTC). Thirty-eight tumors were incidental histological findings. Using immunohistochemistry, we evaluated ERα, ERβ, and AR expressions in tumors and in its correspondent extra-tumor parenchyma. In tumors, 13 (16.7%) women and one (7.7%) man expressed ERα; 42 (53.8%) women and six (46%) men expressed ERβ; and 16 (20.5%) women and three (23.1%) men expressed AR. In normal thyroid parenchymas, ERb was expressed in 52 (66.7%) women and nine (69.2%) men, ERα in three (3.8%) women, and AR in 13 (16.7%) women. Compared with normal thyroid parenchyma, tumors gained ERα and lost ERβ expressions. Incidental cancers were more commonly ERα(-) than ERα(+) (47.7 vs 14.3%, P=0.037). Postsurgical serum thyroglobulin was higher in ERα(+) tumors than in the ERα(-) tumors (P=0.04). ERβ(+) tumors showed vascular invasion more frequently than the ERβ(+) tumors (26.2 vs 4.1%, P=0.005). AR(+) tumors showed capsular invasion more frequently than the AR(-) tumors (77.8 vs 46.6%, P=0.014). In conclusion, ERα positivity, ERβ negativity, and AR expressions are associated with a more aggressive phenotype of small T1-DTC. ER and AR expressions may represent an additional criterion in deciding whether to perform radioiodine ablation in these tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism