Background. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is implicated in carcinogenesis. In this study we examined the expression of ICAM-1 in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). We hypothesized that ICAM-1 correlates with indicators of tumor aggressiveness in PTC. Methods. Thirty-five primary and metastatic PTCs, five follicular adenomas, five Hashimoto thyroiditis, five nodular hyperplasia, and eight normal thyroid tissue samples were analyzed for ICAM-1 gene expression using quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). ICAM-1 gene expression was analyzed at protein level by immunohistochemistry (IHC) using a semiquantitative score. Gene expression and intensity levels were correlated with markers of tumor aggressiveness including BRAF V600E mutation, tumor size, extrathyroidal extension (ETE), angiolymphatic invasion, and lymph node metastasis. Results. ICAM-1 gene expression was higher in PTC (p = 0.01) and lymph node metastases (p = 0.03) when compared with benign tumors and Hashimoto's. Furthermore, PTCs exhibiting BRAF V600E mutation (p = 0.01), ETE (p\0.01), and lymph node metastasis (p = 0.02) were associated with higher ICAM-1 levels. Gene expression correlated with protein levels on IHC. Additionally, poorly differentiated thyroid carcinoma had a higher ICAM-1 intensity score compared with well-differentiated carcinoma (p = 0.03). Conclusions. ICAM-1 expression is upregulated in papillary thyroid carcinoma. Furthermore, ICAM-1 upregulation correlated with aggressive tumor features such as BRAF V600E mutation, ETE, and lymph node metastasis, suggesting that ICAM-1 plays a role in thyroid cancer progression.
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