FRA-1 expression in hyperplastic and neoplastic thyroid diseases

G. Chiappetta, G. Tallini, M. C. De Biasio, F. Pentimalli, F. De Nigris, S. Losito, M. Fedele, S. Battista, P. Verde, M. Santoro, A. Fusco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


fra-1 gene overexpression has been shown to represent a general event in thyroid cell transformation in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, inhibition of FRA-1 protein synthesis by stable transfection with a fra-1 antisense construct significantly reduces the malignant phenotype of the transformed thyroid cells, indicating a pivotal role of the fra-1 gene product in the process of cellular transformation. In the attempt to define the potential use of FRA-1 protein detection in the diagnosis of thyroid diseases, we analyzed Fra-1 expression by a combination of immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assay in 174 samples of thyroid nodules (22 nodular hyperplasias, 102 follicular adenomas, 34 papillary carcinomas, 12 follicular carcinomas, and 4 anaplastic carcinomas) representative of the spectrum of thyroid tumor pathology. FRA-1 protein was abundant in all of the carcinoma samples (50/50, 100%), with an intense staining in the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Positive staining was also found in most of the adenomas (90 of 102; 88%), but in this case, the staining was restricted to the nucleus. Similar results were obtained from the analysis of thyroid goiters; however, the number of positive cases is lower than adenomas (8 of 22; 36%); moreover, the staining was not observed in all of the cells. Conversely, no FRA-1 protein was detectable in 12 normal thyroid tissue samples used as controls. RT-PCR analysis confirmed a higher fra-1 expression in papillary and follicular carcinomas compared with goiters and adenomas. fra-1 expression was also analyzed on 10 fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) samples by RT-PCR. fra-1-specific mRNA was detected in Seven of the eight FNABs corresponding to thyroid nodules that were eventually diagnosed as adenomas (three of four) and carcinomas (four of four) after surgery. Conversely, no fra-1 gene expression was observed in two FNABs derived from normal thyroid. Further studies are required before suggesting FRA-1 protein detection as a useful tool for the diagnosis of hyperplastic and neoplastic disorders of the thyroid gland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4300-4307
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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