RORγt may Influence the Microenvironment of Thyroid Cancer Predicting Favorable Prognosis.


Laboratory of Cancer Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, Brazil. [Email]


We aimed to investigate the role of RORγt (Retinoic acid-related orphan receptor gamma) in the tumor microenvironment of differentiated thyroid carcinoma. We retrospectively analyzed 56 patients (48 papillary and 8 follicular thyroid carcinomas). Immunohistochemical expression of RORγt was compared to other immune markers previously investigated by our group, clinical and pathological information. All patients presented cytoplasmic expression of RORγt in thyroid tumor cells. Seven (12.5%) patients presented no nuclear expression of RORγt. Positivity was few (up to 10%) in 14 patients; 10 to 50% in 5 patients (8.9%); and more than 50% in 30 patients (53.6%). Nuclear RORγt positivity was associated with absence of distant metastasis at diagnosis (p = 0.013) and the need of less cumulative doses of radioactive iodine (p = 0.039). Patients whose tumors were positive for nuclear RORγt presented higher 10-years relapse-free survival rate than those patients who were negative for RORγt (p = 0.023). We classified the patients according to the clustering of immunological immunohistochemical markers. We were able to distinguish a subset (A) of 38 patients who presented high expression of nuclear RORγt and tended to be scarce in proinflammatory immune markers. Other 16 patients integrated a second subset (B) whose tumor microenvironment accumulated proinflammatory markers and presented low expression of nuclear nuclear RORγt. Distant metastasis at diagnosis were more frequent among patients from cluster B than from cluster A (p = 0.008). Our results reinforce that the expression of RORγt together with other immune markers might help predict the prognosis of patients with thyroid cancer and help individualize clinical management.

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