Expression of Met protein and urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPA-R) in papillary carcinoma of the thyroid

Antonio Zanetti, Antonella Stoppacciaro, Antonella Marzullo, Maria Ciabatta, Francesca Fazioli, Maria Prat, Paolo M. Comoglio, Carlo D. Baroni, Luigi P. Ruco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Met protein encoded by MET oncogene is the high affinity receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/scatter factor (SF). HGF/SF has to be cleaved in its heterodimeric form by the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) to become active as a ligand for Met receptor. The expression of Met protein and of the high affinity receptor for uPA (uPA-R) was investigated in 39 samples of papillary carcinoma using immunohistochemistry. Reactivity for Met protein was present in 33 of 34 tumours, mostly with a diffuse pattern of staining. Reactivity for uPA-R was present in 78 per cent of papillary tumours and exhibited a pattern of staining similar to that of Met protein. Staining for uPA-R was present in 23 of 25 cases (92 per cent) of papillary carcinoma with prominent sclerosis, and in only 1 of 7 cases (14 per cent) without sclerosis. Peritumoural normal thyroid, follicular adenomas, and follicular carcinomas were negative for Met protein and for uPA-R. Hyperfunctioning tall thyroid cells showed weak membrane reactivity for uPA- R and for Met protein. The findings of immunohistochemistry were confirmed at the mRNA level using in situ hybridization, since the signal for uPA-R and Met RNAs was detected in most tumour cells of five cases of papillary carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998


  • MET oncogene
  • Met protein
  • Papillary carcinoma
  • Thyroid
  • Thyroid tumours
  • uPAR
  • Urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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