Inverse correlation between PDGFC expression and lymphocyte infiltration in human papillary thyroid carcinomas
1 Center of Medical Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
2 Department of Oncology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
3 Department of Pathology, The Gade Institute, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
4 Department of Surgery, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
5 Section for Pathology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
6 Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, Norway
7 Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
8 Department of Molecular Biology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
BMC Cancer 2009, 9:425 doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-425Published: 8 December 2009
Members of the PDGF family have been suggested as potential biomarkers for papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC). However, it is known that both expression and stimulatory effect of PDGF ligands can be affected by inflammatory cytokines. We have performed a microarray study in a collection of PTCs, of which about half the biopsies contained tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes or thyroiditis. To investigate the expression level of PDGF ligands and receptors in PTC we measured the relative mRNA expression of all members of the PDGF family by qRT-PCR in 10 classical PTC, eight clinically aggressive PTC, and five non-neoplastic thyroid specimens, and integrated qRT-PCR data with microarray data to enable us to link PDGF-associated gene expression profiles into networks based on recognized interactions. Finally, we investigated potential influence on PDGF mRNA levels by the presence of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes.
qRT-PCR was performed on PDGFA, PDGFB, PDGFC, PDGFD, PDGFRA PDGFRB and a selection of lymphocyte specific mRNA transcripts. Semiquantitative assessment of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes was performed on the adjacent part of the biopsy used for RNA extraction for all biopsies, while direct quantitation by qRT-PCR of lymphocyte-specific mRNA transcripts were performed on RNA also subjected to expression analysis. Relative expression values of PDGF family members were combined with a cDNA microarray dataset and analyzed based on clinical findings and PDGF expression patterns. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) was used to elucidate potential molecular interactions and networks.
PDGF family members were differentially regulated at the mRNA level in PTC as compared to normal thyroid specimens. Expression of PDGFA (p = 0.003), PDGFB (p = 0.01) and PDGFC (p = 0.006) were significantly up-regulated in PTCs compared to non-neoplastic thyroid tissue. In addition, expression of PDGFC was significantly up-regulated in classical PTCs as compared to clinically aggressive PTCs (p = 0.006), and PDGFRB were significantly up-regulated in clinically aggressive PTCs (p = 0.01) as compared to non-neoplastic tissue. Semiquantitative assessment of lymphocytes correlated well with quantitation of lymphocyte-specific gene expression. Further more, by combining TaqMan and microarray data we found a strong inverse correlation between PDGFC expression and the expression of lymphocyte specific mRNAs.
At the mRNA level, several members of the PDGF family are differentially expressed in PTCs as compared to normal thyroid tissue. Of these, only the PDGFC mRNA expression level initially seemed to distinguish classical PTCs from the more aggressive PTCs. However, further investigation showed that PDGFC expression level correlated inversely to the expression of several lymphocyte specific genes, and to the presence of lymphocytes in the biopsies. Thus, we find that PDGFC mRNA expression were down-regulated in biopsies containing infiltrated lymphocytes or thyroiditis. No other PDGF family member could be linked to lymphocyte specific gene expression in our collection of PTCs biopsies.