Overexpression of the c-MET/HGF receptor gene in human thyroid carcinomas

M. F. Di Renzo, M. Olivero, S. Ferro, M. Prat, I. Bongarzone, S. Pilotti, A. Belfiore, A. Costantino, R. Vigneri, M. A. Pierotti, P. M. Comoglio

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The receptor for Hepatocyte Growth Factor is a trans-membrane tyrosine kinase encoded by the c-MET oncogene. We have previously shown that the Met protein is expressed in several human epithelial tissues. The receptor is barely detectable, however, in normal thyroids and in specimens from patients affected by non-neoplastic thyroid diseases. Now we report that the expression of the Met/HGF receptor is increased a hundred fold in 22 out of 41 human carcinomas derived from the thyroid follicular epithelium. A comprehensive analysis of 15 cases showed that the overexpressing carcinomas belong to histotype variants correlated with negative prognosis and in all but one case there were evidences of locally advanced disease and/or distant metastases. The 11 benign adenomas and the 5 medullary carcinomas tested were negative. Western blot analysis with monoclonal antibodies directed against either the intracellular or the extracellular receptor domains failed to reveal major structural alterations. Southern blot analysis also demonstrated that the c-MET gene was not amplified nor rearranged. These data suggest a role for the overexpression of c-MET oncogene in the pathogenesis and progression of thyroid tumors derived from the follicular epithelium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2549-2553
Number of pages5
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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