Expression of Growth Factors and Growth Factor Receptors in Normal and Tumorous Human Thyroid Tissues

Thyroid. 1995 Feb;5(1):67-73. doi: 10.1089/thy.1995.5.67.


A number of growth factors have been implicated as stimuli of thyroid cell proliferation; overexpression of these growth factors and/or their receptors may play a role in the growth of thyroid tumors. To determine if immunohistochemical detection of growth factors and/or their receptors correlates with morphological alterations in proliferative lesions of thyroid, we examined the localization of epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) and their common receptor, EGF-receptor (EGF-R), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), IGF-1-receptor (IGF-R) and IGF binding proteins (IGFBP)-1, -2, -3, and -4, nerve growth factor (NGF), and its receptor NGF-receptor (NGF-R), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), in normal thyroid tissue and various thyroid tumors. We applied the streptavidin-biotin technique to formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues. We studied 8-16 different cases of each of the following: normal human thyroid, multinodular hyperplasia, follicular adenoma, papillary carcinoma, follicular carcinoma, medullary carcinoma, and anaplastic carcinoma. EGF, TGF-alpha, and their receptor EGF-R were widely expressed in normal thyroid and in all the thyroid lesions examined. IGF-1 and IGFBP-1 were diffusely present in all different thyroid tissues as well. There was no difference in staining intensity or distribution that correlated with the pathological process. IGFBP-4 seemed to have a variable expression. IGFBP-2 and -3 were detected only in medullary carcinomas.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Growth Substances / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Reference Values
  • Somatomedins / metabolism
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Growth Substances
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Somatomedins