1995 Volume 42 Issue 5 Pages 723-728
Although c-kit proto-oncogene product is known to be weakly expressed on normal thyrocytes, its function is unclear. In order to investigate the significance of thyroid c-kit, c-kit gene expression in 37 various thyroid tissues was analyzed by comparing c-kit gene expression with the mRNA expression of three thyroid-specific genes: thyroid peroxidase, thyroglobulin, and thyroid stimulating hormone receptor. c-kit mRNA was hardly detected by the usual northern blot method in 2 of 7 follicular carcinomas, 11 of 12 papillary carcinomas, and a medullary carcinoma. On the other hand, a high level of c-kit mRNA expression was found in all 17 benign thyroid tissues (4 normal thyroid tissues, 4 Graves' disease, 2 adenomatous goiters, and 7 follicular adenomas). This study found that c-kit proto-oncogene is more likely to lose expression in differentiated thyroid carcinoma than any thyroid-specific gene. Decreased c-kit gene expression may serve as an indicator for the de-differentiation of thyrocytes.