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1.  Patient Age Is Significantly Related to the Progression of Papillary Microcarcinoma of the Thyroid Under Observation 
Thyroid  2014;24(1):27-34.
Background: We showed previously that subclinical low-risk papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) could be observed without immediate surgery. Patient age is an important prognostic factor of clinical papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). In this study, we investigated how patient age influences the observation of low-risk PTMC.
Methods: Between 1993 and 2011, 1235 patients with low-risk PTMC chose observation without immediate surgery. They were followed periodically with ultrasound examinations. These patients were enrolled in this study. We divided them into three subsets based on age at the beginning of observation: young (<40 years), middle-aged (40–59 years), and old patients (≥60 years). Observation periods ranged from 18 to 227 months (average 75 months).
Results: We set three parameters for the evaluation of PTMC progression: (i) size enlargement, (ii) novel appearance of lymph-node metastasis, and (iii) progression to clinical disease (tumor size reaching 12 mm or larger, or novel appearance of nodal metastasis). The proportion of patients with PTMC progression was lowest in the old patients and highest in the young patients. On multivariate analysis, young age was an independent predictor of PTMC progression. However, none of the 1235 patients showed distant metastasis or died of PTC during observation. Although only 51 patients (4%) underwent thyrotropin (TSH) suppression based on physician preference, the PTMC of all patients enrolled in this TSH suppression study, except one, were clinically stable. To date, 191 patients underwent surgery for various reasons after observation. None showed recurrence except for one in the residual thyroid, and none died of PTC after surgery.
Conclusions: Old patients with subclinical low-risk PTMC may be the best candidates for observation. Although PTMC in young patients may be more progressive than in older patients, it might not be too late to perform surgery after subclinical PTMC has progressed to clinical disease, regardless of patient age.
PMCID: PMC3887422  PMID: 24001104
2.  The miR-221/222 cluster, miR-10b and miR-92a are highly upregulated in metastatic minimally invasive follicular thyroid carcinoma 
International Journal of Oncology  2013;42(6):1858-1868.
Minimally invasive follicular thyroid carcinoma (MI-FTC) is characterized by limited capsular and/or vascular invasion with good long-term outcomes. However, some cases of MI-FTC show a poor prognosis because of severe distant metastasis (i.e., metastatic MI-FTC). Nonetheless, no method has been established for predicting the prognosis of MI-FTC. This study was conducted to identify novel prognostic factors for metastatic MI-FTC by the use of microRNA (miRNA). Thirty-four patients with MI-FTC were categorized into two groups: the metastatic group, M(+) (n=12) and the non-metastatic group, M(−) (n=22). In the M(+) group, distant metastasis was recognized after the initial operation established the diagnosis of MI-FTC. In the M(−) group, no distant metastasis was recognized postoperatively for ≥10 years. Using laser micro-dissection followed by quantitative real-time PCR and PCR arrays, we performed a comprehensive expression profiling of 667 miRNAs in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples from the initial MI-FTC operation. Furthermore, we assessed the potential use of miRNAs as novel biomarkers for the metastatic potential of MI-FTC by logistic regression analysis. Comprehensive quantitative analysis of miRNA expression in MI-FTC samples revealed that the miR-221/222 cluster (i.e., miR-221, miR-222 and miR-222*), miR-10b and miR-92a were significantly upregulated in the M(+) group compared with the M(−) group. Interestingly, the expression levels of these miRNAs were also shown to be upregulated in widely invasive FTC (WI-FTC; n=13) that has distant metastasis and worse prognosis, indicating a close similarity in the miRNA expression between metastatic MI-FTC and WI-FTC. Logistic regression analysis revealed that miR-10b made a significant contribution to prognosis (OR 19.759, 95% CI 1.433–272.355, p= 0.026). Our findings suggest that miR-10b is a potential prognostic factor for evaluating the metastatic potential of MI-FTC at an initial operation stage.
PMCID: PMC3699596  PMID: 23563786
microRNA; minimally invasive follicular thyroid carcinoma; thyroid surgery; metastasis; prognostic factor
3.  Subclinical Nonautoimmune Hyperthyroidism in a Family Segregates with a Thyrotropin Receptor Mutation with Weakly Increased Constitutive Activity 
Thyroid  2010;20(11):1307-1314.
Subclinical hyperthyroidism is usually associated with Graves' disease or toxic nodular goiter. Here we report a family with hereditary subclinical hyperthyroidism caused by a constitutively activating germline mutation of the thyrotropin receptor (TSHR) gene.
The proband was a 64-year-old Japanese woman who presented with a thyroid nodule and was found to be euthyroid with a suppressed serum TSH. The nodule was not hot. Although antibodies to thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies were present, TSHR antibodies were not detected by TSH-binding inhibition or by bioassay. Two of her middle-aged sons, but not her daughter, also had subclinical hyperthyroidism without TSHR antibodies. Without therapy, the clinical condition of the affected individuals remained unchanged over 3 years without development of overt hyperthyroidism.
A novel heterozygous TSHR point mutation causing a glutamic acid to lysine substitution at codon 575 (E575K) in the second extracellular loop was detected in the three family members with subclinical hyperthyroidism, but was absent in her one daughter with normal thyroid function. In vitro functional studies of the E575K TSHR mutation demonstrated a weak, but significant, increase in constitutive activation of the cAMP pathway.
Although hereditary nonautoimmune overt hyperthyroidism is very rare, TSHR activating mutations as a cause of subclinical hyperthyroidism may be more common and should be considered in the differential diagnosis, especially if familial.
PMCID: PMC2974847  PMID: 20929407
4.  Prognostic Factors of Papillary and Follicular Carcinomas in Japan Based on Data of Kuma Hospital 
Journal of Thyroid Research  2011;2012:973497.
There are some important prognostic factors for papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC). In this paper, clinicopathological features significantly affecting patient prognosis are described based on our data as well as others. Distant metastasis at diagnosis is the most important prognostic factor for both PTC and FTC. Other than that, preoperative and intraoperative findings are important to evaluate the biological behavior of PTC. Extrathyroid extension, large lymph-node metastasis, and extranodal tumor extension that can be evaluated preoperatively or intraoperatively are significant prognostic factors for PTC patients. In contrast, pathological findings are important not only for diagnosis of FTC, but also for the evaluation of its biological character. Grade of invasiveness (minimally or widely invasive) and degree of differentiation (well differentiated or including a poorly differentiated component) greatly affect the prognosis of FTC patients.
PMCID: PMC3184434  PMID: 21977332
5.  Biological Behavior of Papillary Carcinoma of the Thyroid Including Squamous Cell Carcinoma Components and Prognosis of Patients Who Underwent Locally Curative Surgery 
Journal of Thyroid Research  2011;2012:230283.
Thyroid carcinoma showing squamous differentiation throughout the entire lesion is diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma of the thyroid (SCCT) in the WHO classification. This entity is a rare disease and shows a dire prognosis; however, squamous differentiation is more frequently detected in only a portion of papillary thyroid carcinoma. In this paper, we present our experience of 10 patients (8 primary lesions and 2 with recurrence in the lymph nodes) with papillary thyroid carcinoma having an SCC component (PTC-SCC). Only 3 of 8 primary lesions (38%) and none of the 2 recurrent nodes were preoperatively diagnosed as or suspected of having SCC components. All 10 patients underwent locally curative surgery. To date, 3 patients have died of carcinoma, and 2 had distant metastasis at diagnosis or had an undifferentiated carcinoma component. The other 7 are currently alive 5 to 43 months after diagnosis. Systemic adjuvant therapy after the detection of recurrence was effective for 2 patients. It is possible that some PTC-SCC patients without distant metastasis who undergo locally curative surgery can survive for a prolonged period and adjuvant therapies can be effective for local and distant recurrences.
PMCID: PMC3175380  PMID: 21941683
6.  The thyroid function of Graves' disease patients is aggravated by depressive personality during antithyroid drug treatment 
We previously reported that depressive personality (the scores of hypochondriasis, depression and psychasthenia determined by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)) and daily hassles of Graves' disease (GD) patients treated long trem with antithyroid drug (ATD) were significantly higher in a relapsed group than in a remitted group, even in the euthyroid state. The present study aims to examine the relationship among depressive personality, emotional stresses, thyroid function and the prognosis of hyperthyroidism in newly diagnosed GD patients.
Sixty-four untreated GD patients responded to the MMPI for personality traits, the Natsume's Stress Inventory for major life events, and the Hayashi's Daily Life Stress Inventory for daily life stresses before and during ATD treatment.
In the untreated thyrotoxic state, depressive personality (T-scores of hypochondriasis, depression or psychasthenia greater than 60 points in MMPI) were found for 44 patients (69%). For 15 (23%) of these patients, the scores decreased to the normal range after treatment. However, depressive personality persisted after treatment in the remaining 29 patients (46%). Normal scores before treatment were found for 20 patients (31%), and the scores were persistently normal for 15 patients (23%). The remaining 5 patients (8%) had higher depressive personality after treatment. Such depressive personality was not associated with the severity of hyperthyroidism. Serum TSH receptor antibody activity at three years after treatment was significantly (p = 0.0351) greater in the depression group than in the non- depression group. The remission rate at four years after treatment was significantly (p = 0.0305) lower in the depression group than in the non- depression group (22% vs 52%).
The data indicate that in GD patients treated with ATD, depressive personality during treatment reflects the effect of emotional stress more than that of thyrotoxicosis and that it aggravates hyperthyroidism. Psychosomatic therapeutic approaches including antipsychiatric drugs and/or psychotherapy appears to be useful for improving the prognosis of hyperthyroidism.
PMCID: PMC3174109  PMID: 21827669
7.  Clinical Significance and Prognostic Impact of Subcutaneous or Intrastrap Muscular Recurrence of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma 
Journal of Thyroid Research  2011;2012:819797.
Subcutaneous or intrastrap muscular (SIM) recurrence is rare in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) patients, and its clinical significance remains unclear. We analyzed 29 patients with PTC who showed SIM recurrence in order to elucidate this issue. The incidence of patient age 55 years or older at initial surgery, extrathyroid extension, and clinically detected lymph node metastasis was 83%, 35%, and 46%, respectively. After surgical dissection, 17% of patients showed repeated SIM recurrence. Distant recurrence was detected in 45% of patients and was more likely to occur in patients with high-risk clinicopathological features. In all but one patient in this series, distant recurrence was detected at the same time or after the detection of SIM recurrence. Three patients died of PTC, but none of these patients died of the development of recurrent SIM lesions. These findings suggest that although SIM recurrence is a rare event and is not fatal, it is a predictor of distant recurrence especially in patients with high-risk clinicopathological features. Careful followup is recommended for such patients.
PMCID: PMC3154779  PMID: 21845228
8.  Prognosis of Patients with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Located in One Lobe Showing Lateral Node Metastasis in the Contralateral but Not Ipsilateral Compartment 
Journal of Thyroid Research  2011;2012:953603.
Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) frequently metastasizes to the lymph node in lateral compartment, which can often be detected on preoperative ultrasonography (N1b). However, PTC located in one lobe showing contralateral but not ipsilateral N1b is not common. We analyzed the clinicopathological features and prognosis of 13 patients with PTC limited in one lobe showing contralateral but not ipsilateral N1b. Sizes of the primary lesions ranged from 0.8 cm to 3.0 cm and only 2 tumors showed extrathyroid extension. Metastatic lateral node measured from 0.6 to 3.1 cm. Ten patients showed pathological central node metastasis and 5 had minute PTC lesions in the contralateral lobe. However, 3 patients did not show either of these. None of the patients have developed carcinoma recurrence or died of carcinoma to date. Taken together, PTC located in one lobe with contralateral but not ipsilateral N1b is rare and generally shows an indolent behavior. Although most patients had central node metastasis and/or minute PTC lesions in the contralateral lobe, it is also possible for carcinoma cells to metastasize directly from primary lesions to the contralateral lateral node. Total thyroidectomy with central node dissection and therapeutic MND of the contralateral compartment may be an acceptable surgical design and bilateral MND might not be mandatory.
PMCID: PMC3154792  PMID: 21860807
9.  Autonomic dysreflexia associated with Charcot spine following spinal cord injury: a case report and literature review 
European Spine Journal  2010;19(Suppl 2):179-182.
We report the case of a 50-year-old man presenting symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia associated with Charcot spine following complete C8 spinal cord injury. After posterior lumbar interbody fusion of L2/3 with simultaneous posterior instrumentation from L1 to L5, the patient recovered from the symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia. Although the patient began to faint when he sat up and transferred after surgery, it began to be resolved by continuous urinary catheterization, setting a limit to activity and prescription of alpha-, beta-stimulants. Within a few weeks after performing these treatment strategies, he could return to active wheelchair life, and no recurrence of any symptoms was noted at the 6-year follow-up. Although there are only a small number of cases with Charcot spine presenting autonomic dysreflexia, surgical stabilization of the affected lesion for patients with this condition should be recommended.
PMCID: PMC2899633  PMID: 20130931
Charcot spine; Autonomic dysreflexia; Spinal fusion surgery
10.  Transcriptional activity of the 5′-flanking region of the thyroid transcription factor-1 gene in human thyroid cell lines 
Thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1, NKX2-1) is a homeodomain-containing transcriptional factor that binds to and activates the promoters of thyroid and lung-specific genes, such as thyroglobulin, thyroid peroxidase, and thyroid stimulating hormone receptor. TTF-1 is known to play a key role in the development of the thyroid. However, the precise mechanism of TTF-1 gene transcription in human thyroid cells has not been studied. The expression of transcriptional activity in various lengths of the 5′-flanking region of the human TTF -1 gene was studied in TTF-1 positive and negative human thyroid cell lines. Increased transcriptional activity was observed in thyroid cell lines containing plasmids that coded for a sequence proximal to the transcription start site of exon 1 of the TTF-1 gene. However, we did not observe any difference in promoter activity in the region up to −2.6 kb from the proximal transcription start site of the TTF-1 gene between TTF-1 positive and negative cells. These results suggest that the proximal 5′-flanking region of the human TTF -1 gene does not contain sufficient cis-active regulatory information to direct gene expression in thyroid cells, and that other cis- or trans-acting factors participate in the thyroid specific gene expression of TTF-1.
PMCID: PMC3085375  PMID: 21637535
thyroid; TTF-1; transcription; human cell line; stem cell
11.  Thyroidectomy and Lymph Node Dissection in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma 
Journal of Thyroid Research  2010;2011:634170.
Papillary carcinoma is a prominent malignancy originating from follicular cells. This disease generally shows an indolent character, but patients demonstrating certain clinicopathological features have a dire prognosis. At present, Western countries adopted almost routine total thyroidectomy with radioactive iodine (RAI) ablation, while limited thyroidectomy with extensive prophylactic lymph node dissection has traditionally been performed for most patients in Japan. Recently, accurate evaluation of carcinoma stage can be performed on preoperative imaging studies, especially on ultrasonography. It is therefore important to treat papillary carcinoma patients depending on clinicopathological features rather than in a stereotyped fashion. In this paper, appropriate extension of thyroidectomy and lymph node dissection is discussed based on Western and recently published Japanese guidelines and the experience in Kuma Hospital.
PMCID: PMC2989453  PMID: 21113383
12.  Nodal metastasis in well-differentiated follicular carcinoma of the thyroid: Its incidence and clinical significance 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(5):873-876.
The clinical significance of nodal metastasis in well-differentiated follicular carcinoma (WD-FC) of the thyroid remains a controversial issue. This study aimed to clarify clinical and pathological characteristics of WD-FC with nodal metastasis, based on the new WHO classification. We examined 249 WD-FC cases diagnosed between 1983 and 2004 in our hospital. Poorly differentiated follicular carcinoma was not included in this study. Of the 249 WD-FC cases, 9 (3.6%) revealed nodal metastasis. The incidences of nodal metastasis in minimally invasive and widely invasive cases were 2.0 and 9.8%, respectively. In four patients, nodal metastasis was detected in the ipsilateral lymph nodes during the initial surgery. A total of 6 patients presented with nodal metastasis 2–10 years after the initial operation, and 3 patients with bilateral and large nodal metastases were relatively young. No patients succumbed to the carcinoma. Primary lesions of WD-FC with nodal metastasis were microscopically conventional, and there were no findings predicting nodal metastasis. We hypothesized that the incidence of nodal metastasis in WD-FC, based on the new WHO classification, was lower compared with previous reports. Younger individuals may be at a higher risk of large bilateral nodal metastasis. The presence of nodal metastasis did not affect the long-term outcome of follicular carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3436349  PMID: 22966397
thyroid; follicular carcinoma; metastasis; lymph node
13.  CXCR4 expression in papillary thyroid carcinoma: induction by nitric oxide and correlation with lymph node metastasis 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:274.
Metastasis to regional lymph nodes is a common step in the progression of cancer. Recent evidence suggests that tumor production of CXCR4 promotes lymph node metastasis. Nitric oxide (NO) may also increase metastatic ability in human cancers.
Nitrite/nitrate levels and functional CXCR4 expression were assessed in K1 and B-CPAP papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) cells after induction and/or inhibition of NO synthesis. CXCR4 expression was also analyzed in primary human PTC. The relationship between nitrotyrosine levels, which are a biomarker for peroxynitrate formation from NO in vivo, CXCR4 expression, and lymph node status was also analyzed.
Production of nitrite/nitrate and functional CXCR4 expression in both cell lines was increased by treatment with the NO donor DETA NONOate. The NOS inhibitor L-NAME eliminated this increase. Positive CXCR4 immunostaining was observed in 60.7% (34/56) of PTCs. CXCR4 expression was significantly correlated with nitrotyrosine levels and lymph node metastasis in human PTC.
Our data indicate that NO stimulates CXCR4 expression in vitro. Formation of the NO biomarker nitrotyrosine was also correlated with CXCR4 expression and lymph node metastasis in human PTC. NO may induce lymph node metastasis via CXCR4 induction in papillary thyroid carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2572635  PMID: 18826577

Results 1-13 (13)