Previous observations suggest that an immune response against thyroid carcinoma could be important for long-term survival. We recently found that infiltration of thyroid carcinoma by proliferating lymphocytes is associated with improved disease-free survival, but the factors that control lymphocytic infiltration and proliferation are largely unknown. We hypothesized that the antigen presentation coactivators (B7-1 and B7-2), which are important in other immune-mediated thyroid diseases, might be important in lymphocytic infiltration of thyroid carcinoma. To test this, we determined B7-1 and B7-2 expression by immunohistochemistry [absent (grade 0) to intense (grade 3)] in 27 papillary (PTC) and 8 follicular (FTC) thyroid carcinomas and 9 benign thyroid lesions. B7-1 and B7-2 were expressed by the majority of PTC and FTC (78% of PTC and 100% of FTC expressed B7-1; 88% of PTC and 88% of FTC expressed B7-2). B7-1 expression was more intense in PTC (1.4 ± 0.2; P = 0.01) and FTC (2.6 ± 0.2; P < 0.001) than in benign tumors (0.57 ± 0.30) or presumably normal adjacent thyroid (0.07 ± 0.07) and was more intense in carcinoma that contained lymphocytes (1.95 ± 0.21) than in carcinoma that did not (1.08 ± 0.26; P = 0.016). B7-2 expression was of similar intensity in benign and malignant tumors (PTC, 1.6 ± 0.2; FTC, 2.1 ± 0.4; benign, 1.86 ± 0.4), but was more intense than in presumably normal adjacent thyroid (0.64 ± 0.25; P ≤ 0.013). B7-2 expression also correlated with the number of tumor-associated lymphocytes per high power field (r = 0.38; P = 0.02). Recurrence developed exclusively from tumors that expressed B7-2, and intense B7-2 expression was associated with a reduced probability of remission (P = 0.04). In conclusion, these data support the hypothesis that the antigen presentation coactivators B7-1 and B7-2 may be important for lymphocytic infiltration and the immune response against thyroid carcinoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical