Cellular oncology (Dordrecht) 2018 01 24() doi 10.1007/s13402-017-0368-y
Papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) is more common in women than in men. It has been suggested that estrogen may be involved in its development, as has previously been shown for breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer. The purpose of this study was to assess correlations between the expression of the estrogen receptor alpha36 (ERα36) and the glucose regulated proteins GRP78 and GRP94 (chaperones involved in glycoprotein folding) and various PTC clinicopathological features, as well as to evaluate the potential usefulness of these three potential oncogenic proteins in the prediction of aggressive PTC behavior.
ERα36, GRP78 and GRP94 protein expression in 218 primary PTC tissues and PTC-derived BCPAP cells was examined using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and immunocytochemistry. The proliferative, invasive and migrative capacities of BCPAP cells in which the respective genes were either exogenously over-expressed or silenced were assessed using BrdU incorporation and Transwell assays, respectively.
We found that ERα36, GRP78 and GRP94 protein expression was upregulated in the primary PTC tissues tested. We also found that ERα36, GRP78 and GRP94 expression modulation affected the proliferation, invasion and migration of PTC-derived BCPAP cells. A positive correlation and a positive feedback loop were noted between ERα36, GRP78 and GRP94 protein expression in the primary PTC tissues and in BCPAP cells, respectively. High ERα36 expression in combination with a high GRP78/ GRP94 expression was found to have a stronger correlation with extrathyroid extension (ETE), lymph node metastasis (LNM), distant metastasis (DM) and high TNM stage than high ERα36 expression in combination with either high GRP78 or high GRP94 expression (p = 0.028 for ETE, p = 0.002 for DM and p ≤ 0.001 for LNM and high TNM stage) or high ERα36 expression alone (p < 0.001 for ETE, LNM, DM and high TNM stage). CONCLUSIONS
From our data we conclude that a concomitant high expression of ERα36, GRP78 and GRP94 is strongly associated with aggressive PTC behavior and may be used as a predictor for ETE, LNM, DM and high TNM stage.