The immune response might suppress thyroid cancer recurrence. Although the factors that control this are unknown, CD-40 and CD-40 ligand might be important. To test this, we stained 36 papillary (PTC) and four follicular (FTC) thyroid carcinomas for CD-40 (n = 37) and CD-40 ligand (n = 36) and graded staining from absent (grade 0) to intense (grade 3). Follicular cells of the majority of thyroid tumors expressed CD-40 (30/37, 81%) and CD-40 ligand (15/24, 69%). Cancers from young patients (≤21 years of age) that expressed CD-40 contained more numerous lymphocytes/high-power field (36 ± 11) than cancers that failed to express CD-40 (4 ± 3, p = 0.01), but there was no correlation with clinical outcome. Among young patients, CD-40 ligand expression was more intense in multifocal (1.1 ± 0.2 vs. 0.45 ± 0.2, p = 0.037), aggressive (1.14 ± 0.14 vs. 0.65 ± 0.2, p = 0.05) and recurrent tumors (1.2 ± 0.2 vs. 0.65 ± 0.2, p = 0.05) and associated with reduced disease-free survival (p = 0.03). We conclude that the majority of thyroid cancers express CD-40 and CD-40 ligand. In patients ≤21 years of age, tumors with intense expression of CD-40 ligand are more often multifocal, aggressive, and recurrent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism