Expression of follicle stimulating hormone receptors (FSHR) in thyroid tumours - a marker of malignancy?

Research paper by Marek M Pawlikowski, Julita J Fuss-Chmielewska, Maria M Jaranowska, Hanna H Pisarek, Robert R Kubiak, Katarzyna K Winczyk

Indexed on: 17 Feb '15Published on: 17 Feb '15Published in: Thyroid Research


In normal conditions FSHR are expressed in granulosa cells of the ovary and Sertoli cells of the testis. They can be expressed also in gonadal tumours. However, recently the expression of FSHR was found in tumoral cells and intra-tumoral blood vessels of many other tumours, including thyroid tumours. Aim of this study was to see whether the expression of FSHR can be useful in the differentiation of benign and malignant thyroid lesions.44 samples of surgically excised thyroids were immunostained with anti- FSHR antibody raised against 1-190 amino acid sequence from the human FSHR.Non-neoplastic thyroid follicles (i.e. the follicles situated outside the tumour) do not show the immunostaining for FSHR. The same concerns the majority of follicular adenomas. In contrast, 87.5% of follicular cancers, the same percentage of papillary cancers and all the examined undifferentiated cancers showed the FSHR immunopositivity of tumoral cells. A tendency towards the higher frequency of FSHR - positive blood vessels also concerns malignant thyroid tumours.The ectopic FSHR immunostaining seems to be useful to differentiate malignant from benign lesions, especially follicular cancers from follicular adenomas. However, the further studies on larger material are needed.