Endocrine pathology 28(4) 339-344 doi 10.1007/s12022-017-9500-9
Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a type II transmembrane glycoprotein receptor, is highly expressed in prostate cancer and in the tumor neovasculature of colon, breast, and adrenocortical tumors. Here, we analyzed PSMA expression in the neovasculature of various thyroid cancer subtypes and assessed whether PSMA expression is correlated with aggressive behavior. From a prospectively maintained database, we evaluated 91 samples from 68 patients, including 37 primary differentiated thyroid cancers (DTCs) [11 classic papillary (cPTC), 9 follicular-variant (FvPTC), 11 follicular (FTC), 6 radioactive iodine-refractory (RAIR)], 5 anaplastic (ATC) carcinomas, 9 distant and 12 lymph node metastases, 21 benign thyroid nodules, and 7 normal thyroid specimens. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue blocks were immunostained for vascular endothelial marker CD31 and PSMA with proper controls. PSMA expression was not detected in normal thyroid tissue. DTC tumors demonstrated a significantly higher PSMA expression, in regard to both intensity and percentage of vessels stained, than benign tumors (p < 0.001). Among the histologic subtypes, cPTC, FTC, and RAIR carcinomas demonstrated the highest percent of moderate to strong PSMA staining. PSMA expression was seen more frequently in specimens from distant metastases (100%) compared with specimens from only lymph node metastases (67%). PSMA is significantly overexpressed in the neovasculature of DTCs compared with normal and benign thyroid nodules specifically with increased expression in RAIR carcinomas and distant metastases. PSMA should be further explored as a novel therapeutic target for metastatic and RAIR carcinomas.