Thymosin beta 4 and thymosin beta 10 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma

  • W. Theunissen |
  • D. Fanni
  • S. Nemolato
  • E. Di Felice
  • T. Cabras
  • C. Gerosa
  • P. Van Eyken
  • I. Messana
  • M. Castagnola
  • G. Faa


Thymosin beta 4 (Tβ4) and thymosin beta 10 (Tβ10) are two members of the beta-thymosin family involved in many cellular processes such as cellular motility, angiogenesis, inflammation, cell survival and wound healing. Recently, a role for beta-thymosins has been proposed in the process of carcinogenesis as both peptides were detected in several types of cancer. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression pattern of Tβ4 and Tβ10 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To this end, the expression pattern of both peptides was analyzed in liver samples obtained from 23 subjects diagnosed with HCC. Routinely formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded liver samples were immunostained by indirect immunohistochemistry with polyclonal antibodies to Tβ4 and Tβ10. Immunoreactivity for Tβ4 and Tβ10 was detected in the liver parenchyma of the surrounding tumor area. Both peptides showed an increase in granular reactivity from the periportal to the periterminal hepatocytes. Regarding HCC, Tβ4 reactivity was detected in 7/23 cases (30%) and Tβ10 reactivity in 22/23 (97%) cases analyzed, adding HCC to human cancers that express these beta-thymosins. Intriguing finding was seen looking at the reactivity of both peptides in tumor cells infiltrating the surrounding liver. Where Tβ10 showed a strong homogeneous expression, was Tβ4 completely absent in cells undergoing stromal invasion. The current study shows expression of both beta-thymosins in HCC with marked differences in their degree of expression and frequency of immunoreactivity. The higher incidence of Tβ10 expression and its higher reactivity in tumor cells involved in stromal invasion indicate a possible major role for Tβ10 in HCC progression.


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Fondazione Banco di Sardegna, University Hospital San Giovanni di Dio, Cagliari, Italy
β-thymosins, Tβ4, Tβ10, hepatocellular carcinoma, stromal invasion.
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How to Cite
Theunissen, W., Fanni, D., Nemolato, S., Di Felice, E., Cabras, T., Gerosa, C., Van Eyken, P., Messana, I., Castagnola, M., & Faa, G. (2014). Thymosin beta 4 and thymosin beta 10 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma. European Journal of Histochemistry, 58(1).

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