Levels of histaminase and L‐dopa decarboxylase activity in the transition from C‐cell hyperplasia to familial medullary thyroid carcinoma

Stephen B. Baylin, Geoffrey Mendelsohn, William R. Weisburger, Donald S. Gann, Joseph C. Eggleston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The distribution of calcitonin, L‐dopa decarboxylase, and histaminase is studied in sectioned total thyroid glands from patients with different stages of familial medullary thyroid carcinoma. In 5 glands with gross carcinoma and in 3 with early microscopic carcinoma the distribution of all three parameters positively correlates (p < .01 for each correlation). In contrast, in 6 glands with C‐cell hyperplasia6 only the distribution of calcitonin and L‐dopa decarboxylase correlates (r = 0.64, p < .01) while those for histaminase vs. calcitonin (r = .17, p = N.S.) and histaminase vs. dopa decarboxylase (r = .03, p = N.S.) do not. In the glands with microscopic carcinoma the peak levels of histaminase occur in the areas of disease as defined by immunohistochemical staining of calcitonin; mean histaminase activity is the only one of the three parameters measured that distinguishes between C‐cell hyperplasia and microscopic carcinoma (p < .005). Immunohistochemical staining of histaminase shows positive cells in glands with gross and microscopic carcinoma, but in none of the glands with hyperplasia alone. Histaminase is thus found in high amounts in some malignant C‐cells only and may be a useful marker to distinguish between hyperplasia and malignancy in thyroids with early C‐cell proliferative disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1315-1321
Number of pages7
JournalCancer
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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