Low expression of sodium iodide symporter identifies aggressive thyroid tumors
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A decreased radioiodine uptake is frequently detected in differentiated thyroid carcinomas (DTC) and is associated with high recurrence rate and reduced survival. We investigated the correlation between NIS mRNA expression levels in the primary tumor and patient outcome using a quantitative real-time RT-PCR method. NIS expression was decreased in 17 DTC (21.04 +/- 39.66 pg Eq) compared to four autoimune thyroid disease (180.51 +/- 92.63 pg Eq) and 14 normal tissues (75.71 +/- 66.98 pg Eq) (p < 0.0001). The 17 thyroid differentiated carcinoma patients were submitted to surgery complemented by radioiodine ablation and had at least 24 months of follow-up, under levothyroxine continued suppressive therapy. According to their outcome, we could characterize a group of papillary carcinoma patients with aggressive carcinomas, whose NIS mRNA levels were markedly lower than a group with non-aggressive carcinomas (0.62 +/- 0.79 versus 54.87 +/- 53.79: p < 0.005). We suggest that the quantification of NIS mRNA relative levels in the primary tumor may predict poor outcome. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.