Human galectin-3 immunoexpression in thyroid follicular adenomas with cell atypia

C. Nucera, E. Mazzon, B. Caillou, M. A. Violi, M. Moleti, C. Priolo, G. Sturniolo, D. Puzzolo, V. Cavallari, F. Trimarchi, F. Vermiglio

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Human galectin-3 (hgal-3) is a β-galactoside binding protein involved in a number of physiological and pathological processes. Increasing hgal-3 immunoexpression has been reported in several human tumors, including thyroid carcinomas, but not in benign thyroid lesions. We analyzed the immunolocalization of hgal-3 in cell compartments of benign and malignant thyroid lesions. Hgal-3 immunoperoxidase reaction was carried out on 133 thyroid tissue samples obtained from 113 patients; 20 of these were normal (NT), 85 were benign thyroid lesions [20 colloid nodules (CN), 21 nodular hyperplasias (NH), 7 focal lymphocytic thyroiditis (FLT), 15 Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), 22 follicular adenomas (FA)], 25 differentiated carcinomas [15 papillary carcinomas (PC), 6 follicular carcinomas (FC) and 4 Hürthle cell carcinomas (HC)] and 3 anaplastic carcinomas (AC). Among the malignant thyroid lesions, hgal-3 was detected in 12/15 (80%) PC, 3/4 (75%) HC and in 4/6 (66.6%) FC, but in none of the 3 AC. Conversely, hgal-3 immunoexpression was absent in NT and in all benign thyroid lesions, but 1/15 HT and 10/22 (45.4%) FA. In the latter, hgal-3 was mostly expressed in microfollicular areas and in five of the six atypical FA. Hgal-3 cytoplasmic-perinuclear immunolocalization was observed in the majority of thyroid carcinomas and in more than half of the FA, theoretically suggesting an involvement of this protein in thyroid tumorigenesis throughout an antiapoptotic activity. Moreover, hgal-3 expression in FA might anticipate the likelihood of evolution of these benign lesions towards malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Cell atypia
  • Cell immunolocalization
  • Follicular adenomas
  • Human galectin-3
  • Thyroid carcinomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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