Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2018 November, 246(3)

L-Type Amino Acid Transporter 1 Immunoreactivity as a Possible Diagnostic and Prognostic Marker of Thymic Carcinoma

SUMIKO MAEDA,1 YOSHIMASA NAKAZATO,2 KEITARO HAYASHI,3 MORIMICHI NISHIHIRA,1 TAKASHI INOUE,1 OSAMU ARAKI,1 YOKO KARUBE,1 SATORU KOBAYASHI1 and MASAYUKI CHIDA1

1Department of General Thoracic Surgery, Dokkyo Medical University, Shimotsuga-gun, Tochigi, Japan
2Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Dokkyo Medical University, Shimotsuga-gun, Tochigi, Japan
3Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dokkyo Medical University, Shimotsuga-gun, Tochigi, Japan

L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) functions to transport large neutral amino acids, such as leucine, isoleucine, valine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, methionine, and histidine. These amino acids are essential for cell growth and proliferation. Many studies have demonstrated LAT1 expression in various types of cancer, and its high expression level was associated with poor prognosis. However, the significance of LAT1 expression in thymic epithelial tumors is controversial. We conducted this retrospective study to investigate the LAT1 immunoreactivity in thymic epithelial tumors and its impact on prognosis. We analyzed 32 patients with thymoma and 14 patients with thymic carcinoma who underwent surgery at our institute. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded surgical tissues and an anti-LAT1 polyclonal antibody. We thus found that LAT1 immunoreactivity was undetectable in all of the thymoma specimens, regardless of the subtypes of thymoma. By contrast, LAT1 immunoreactivity was consistently detected in the cytosol of thymic carcinoma cells; namely, all 14 thymic carcinoma specimens demonstrated LAT1 immunoreactivity in the cytosol. Among these 14 thymic carcinoma specimens, four carcinoma specimens also showed LAT1 immunoreactivity in the cell membrane. Survival analysis indicated that the thymic carcinoma with the LAT1 membrane signal was associated with poor prognosis, compared with the specimens with the LAT1 cytosol signal. We therefore propose that LAT1 is expressed in the cytosol of thymic carcinoma cells, which could be a diagnostic marker of thymic carcinoma. Moreover, LAT1 expression in the cell membrane is a prognostic marker of thymic carcinoma.

Key words —— amino acid transporter 1; immunohistochemistry; prognosis; thymic carcinoma; thymoma

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Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2018, 246, 167-174

Correspondence: Sumiko Maeda, Department of General Thoracic Surgery, Dokkyo Medical University, 880 Kitakobayashi, Mibu, Shimotsuga-gun, Tochigi 321-0293, Japan.

e-mail: sumaeda-ths@umin.ac.jp