Journal of Korean Endocrine Society 2001;16(4-5):467-480.
Published online October 1, 2001.
Expression of the MAGE-1, -2, -3, -4, -5, and -10 Genes in Thyroid Cancers.
Young Sik Choi, Hark Rim, Yo Han Park, Kang Dae Lee, Jae Hwa Lee, Hee Kyoung Chang
1Department of Internal Medicine, Kosin University College of Medicine, Pusan, Korea.
2Department of Otolaryngology, Kosin University College of Medicine, Pusan, Korea.
3Department of Pathology, Kosin University College of Medicine, Pusan, Korea.
MAGE(melanoma antigen gene) has been named as cancer/testis specific antigens since its expression is only detected in the testis or cancer cells. Because of its relatively specific expression in cancer cells, it has been considered as a marker for the early diagnosis of several cancers, or as an appropriate target for a specific immunotherapy mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Therefore, there have been many reports concerning the expression of MAGE genes in various types of malignant tumors, although only a few reports in human thyroid neoplasms. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the MAGE-1, -2, -3, -4, -5, and -10 genes expressed in different histological types of thyroid tumors and to elucidate the clinical usefulness of MAGE genes on the diagnosis of thyroid tumors. METHODS: Thirty-eight patients who had undergone thyroidectomy at Kosin Medical Center between January and August, 1999 were included in the study. Of the 38 patients enrolled, 26 exhibited papillary carcinoma, 3 papillary carcinoma with lymph node metastasis, 1 follicular carcinoma, 1 medullary carcinoma, 5 nodular hyperplasia, 1 adenomatous goiter, and 1 follicular carcinoma. In the twelve normal control thyroid tissues, total cellular mRNA was extracted from 31 cancer tissues and 7 benign tissues, RT-PCR was run in 35 cycles, with specific primers of the subtypes of MAGE genes. With probes confirmed by DNA sequencing, the isolates were reevaluated by Southern blot hybridization. RESULTS: In the 26 papillary carcinomas, MAGE-1,-2,-3,-4,-5 and -10 genes were expressed in 88.5%, 92.3%, 3.8%, 26.9%, 26.9%, and 0% by RT-PCR respectively. In the three papillary carcinomas with regional lymph node metastasis, MAGE-1, -2 and -5 genes expressed in two of the three, and MAGE-4 in one of the three cases. In the one medullary carcinoma, the MAGE-1,-2,-4, and MAGE-5 genes were expressed, and in the one case of follicular carcinoma, only the MAGE-2 gene was expressed. In contrast, none of the 7 benign tumors and 12 normal control tissues expressed any of these MAGE genes. The sensitivity of MAGE-1,-2,-3,-4,-5 and -10 genes in thyroid tumors was 83.8%, 90.3%, 3%, 29.0%, 32.3%, and 0%, respectively and the specificity was 100%. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that MAGE genes were expressed in the malignant thyroid tumors but not in the benign tumors and normal tissues. Among the MAGE gene families, MAGE-1 and -2 genes were more sensitive than MAGE-3, 4,-5 and -10 genes. However, in order to demonstrate if the MAGE genes could be used for the diagnosis of follicular carcinoma and distant metastasis in thyroid tumors, further study is required.
Key Words: MAGE, Thyroid tumor

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