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Inverse correlation between galectin-4 and TTF-1 in lung adenocarcinoma


We have previously shown that galectin-4 expression is an independent predictor for lymph node metastasis and serves as an adverse prognostic indicator in patients with acinar adenocarcinoma of the lung. In contrast, thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1) expression in non-small cell lung carcinoma has been shown to be associated with a favorable prognosis. In the present study, 208 cases of acinar adenocarcinoma of the lung and 36 cases with distant metastatic lesions of lung adenocarcinoma were immunohistochemically examined for expression of galectin-4 and TTF-1 to elucidate their correlation with clinicopathological factors. TTF-1 expression was observed in 145 cases (69.7%) and associated with smaller tumor size, infrequent pleural invasion, and lower TNM stage. Galectin-4 expression was observed in 86 cases (41.3%). Furthermore, galectin-4-positive carcinoma cells and TTF-1-positive carcinoma cells existed exclusively within the same lesion. Expressions of TTF-1 and galectin-4 were favorable and adverse prognostic factors, respectively. Approximately 40% (15/36 cases) of lung adenocarcinoma at the distant metastatic sites were immunohistochemically negative for TTF-1. Four out of five galectin-4-positive metastatic lesions were negative for TTF-1. We found an inverse correlation between galectin-4 and TTF-1 expressions in acinar adenocarcinoma, and this phenomenon was also found to be present in metastatic sites. These findings suggest that we should not exclude the possibility of metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung, even if the tumor cells are immunohistochemically negative for TTF-1 in the primary unknown tumor, because aggressive lung adenocarcinomas often lack TTF-1 expression.

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Correspondence to Tsuyoshi Saito or Takuo Hayashi.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

Not applicable. This study was approved by the research ethics committee of Juntendo University (2012014).

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Hara, K., Saito, T., Hayashi, T. et al. Inverse correlation between galectin-4 and TTF-1 in lung adenocarcinoma. Virchows Arch 471, 375–382 (2017).

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  • Lung adenocarcinoma
  • Acinar
  • TTF-1
  • Galectin-4
  • Prognosis