Relationship between expression of the sodium/iodide symporter and 131I uptake in recurrent lesions of differentiated thyroid carcinoma

Eur J Nucl Med. 2001 May;28(5):639-45.


The sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) is known to be responsible for the active accumulation of iodide within the thyroid gland. We evaluated the relationship between the expression of NIS in primary or lymph node lesions and iodine-131 uptake in recurrent lesions of differentiated thyroid cancer. In 67 patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (5 follicular and 62 papillary carcinomas), the expression of NIS was analysed by immunohistochemical staining using polyclonal antibodies against human NIS. We used paraffin block tissues of primary tumours or metastatic lesions, and also assessed 131I uptake in recurrent lesions of thyroid cancer on post-operative 131I whole-body scan. Immunohistochemical staining was positive in 22 patients (32.8%), including 2 of 5 follicular and 20 of 62 papillary carcinomas. Recurrence was confirmed in 40 patients pathologically or clinically by serum thyroglobulin, 131I scan, fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography and/or computed tomography. Among these 40 patients, 28 showed positive uptake on 131I scan. Fourteen tumour specimens out of 28 (50%) were positive by NIS immunohistochemical staining. The remaining 12 patients with recurrent cancer showed negative 131I scans, and all specimens were negative by NIS immunohistochemical staining. Thus, NIS immunohistochemical staining predicted 131I uptake in recurrent cancer with a 100% positive predictive value and a 46.2% negative predictive value. There was no difference in the positivity of NIS according to the site of recurrence on 131I scan. Outcome of 131I therapy could be assessed in 22 of the 28 patients who showed 131I uptake in recurrent lesions. Patients with positive NIS immunostaining responded to 131I therapy better than did patients with negative immunostaining (P<0.05). In conclusion, NIS immunohistochemical staining showed a high positive predictive value in predicting iodine uptake. Positive immunohistochemical staining of human NIS in primary or lymph node lesions may predict 131I accumulation and effectiveness of 131I therapy in recurrent lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / radiotherapy
  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / secondary
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / secondary
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Iodine Radioisotopes* / pharmacokinetics
  • Iodine Radioisotopes* / therapeutic use
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / metabolism
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Symporters / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Symporters
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • sodium-iodide symporter