Galectin-3 and laminin expression in neoplastic and non-neoplastic thyroid tissue

Pedro L. Fernández, María J. Merino, Mercedes Gómez, Elías Campo, Teresa Medina, Vincent Castronovo, Xavier Sanjuán, Antonio Cardesa, Fu-Tong Liu, Mark E. Sobel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Galectin-3 is a 31 kD β-galactoside-binding lectin which is expressed by several types of non-neoplastic and neoplastic cells and which may be involved in cell-extracellular matrix interactions. An immunohistochemical study has been made of the expression of galectin-3, as well as its ligand, laminin, in a spectrum of benign and malignant thyroid neoplasms and in some non-neoplastic conditions. Immunonistochemistry with anti-human recombinant galectin-3 antibody showed consistent, intense positivity in the neoplastic cells of 18 cases of papillary carcinoma and less intense staining in the five anaplastic carcinomas studied. In addition, two out of three poorly differentiated carcinomas, three out of six medullary carcinomas, and four out of eight follicular carcinomas had less intense or focal positivity. One case of Hurthle cell carcinoma showed scattered strongly positive cells. Eight follicular adenomas, three hyperplastic nodules, five nodular goitres, and normal thyroid tissue were negative. Galectin-3 mRNA expression was also evaluated in three of the papillary carcinomas, two follicular adenomas, and one hyperplastic nodule with matched normal tissue. Northern blot analysis demonstrated mRNA overexpression in the three cases of papillary carcinomas, whereas normal and benign tissues were negative. Laminin distribution in neoplastic and non-neoplastic tissue varied with architectural patterns but did not correlate with galectin-3 immunonistochemical expression. We conclude that expression of galectin-3 is limited to inflammatory foci in normal and benign thyroid tissue and is a phenotypic feature of malignant thyroid neoplasms, especially papillary carcinomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • carcinoma
  • galectin-3
  • laminin
  • thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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