Tight junctions in thyroid carcinogenesis: diverse expression of claudin-1, claudin-4, claudin-7 and occludin in thyroid neoplasms
Tzelepi, V.N.; Tsamandas, A.C.; Vlotinou, H.D.; Vagianos, C.E.; Scopa, C.D.
Modern Pathology An Official Journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology Inc 21(1): 22-30
ISSN/ISBN: 0893-3952 PMID: 17962811 DOI: 10.1038/modpathol.3800959
Claudins and occludin are integral constituents of tight junctions and are deregulated in a variety of malignancies. Their role in thyroid carcinogenesis has not yet been elucidated. This study investigates the expression of occludin and claudin-1, -4 and -7 in thyroid neoplasms. Ninety-one thyroid neoplasms (15 follicular adenomas, 15 follicular carcinomas, 26 papillary carcinomas, 16 papillary microcarcinomas, 8 medullary carcinomas, 3 poorly differentiated carcinomas, 8 undifferentiated carcinomas) were immunostained with antibodies against occludin and claudin-1, -4 and -7. Occludin was mainly expressed in the form of intracytoplasmic vesicles, whereas all claudins tested exhibited membranous immunostaining. Thirteen out of 15 follicular adenomas, 10/15 follicular carcinomas, 24/26 papillary carcinomas, 15/16 papillary microcarcinomas, 1/8 medullary carcinomas, 2/3 poorly differentiated carcinomas and 2/8 undifferentiated carcinomas exhibited claudin-1 expression, whereas claudin-4 was expressed in 13/15, 12/15, 23/26, 13/16, 7/8, 2/3 and 2/8 of the tumors, respectively, and claudin-7 expression was found in 67, 33, 73, 69, 25, 0 and 13% of the cases, respectively. Occludin was expressed in 100% follicular adenomas, 80% follicular carcinomas, 96% papillary carcinomas, 50% papillary microcarcinomas, 50% medullary carcinomas, 33% poorly differentiated carcinomas and 88% undifferentiated carcinomas. Occludin expression was reduced in papillary microcarcinomas, medullary carcinomas and poorly differentiated carcinomas. All claudins exhibited reduced expression in undifferentiated carcinomas. Claudin-1 was additionally reduced in medullary carcinomas and claudin-7 in follicular, medullary and poorly differentiated carcinomas. A correlation between loss of claudin-1 expression and worse disease-free survival was noted on univariate analysis. Dedifferentiation of the thyroid carcinomas is accompanied by reduction in claudin-1, -4 and -7 expression. A differential expression of tight junction proteins in the different histologic types of thyroid gland is noted. Additionally, claudin-1 expression may be an important prognostic indicator of recurrence in thyroid carcinomas.