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Presentation date

Summer 8-10-2022

College, Institute, or Department

Internal Medicine

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Whitney Goldner


Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer, and its incidence has significantly increased over the last 40 years. Recent studies have suggested relaxin—a peptide hormone secreted by the ovaries during pregnancy with anti-fibrotic actions in chronic inflammation—as a potential marker of thyroid cancer occurrence and progression. However, it is unknown how relaxin behaves in benign versus malignant thyroid tissue. We hypothesized that relaxin levels would be decreased in benign and normal cancer-adjacent thyroid tissue relative to malignant tissue and increased in patients with lymphocytic thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder involving chronic inflammation of the thyroid. Using the Integrated Cancer Repository for Cancer Research, benign, malignant, and normal cancer-adjacent thyroid tissue and accompanying clinical information were obtained. Tissue microarrays of each group were created, and immunofluorescence was performed to evaluate levels of relaxin. Our results indicated that relaxin is increased in malignant tissue relative to both normal cancer-adjacent and benign thyroid tissue, but there is no significant difference between benign and normal cancer-adjacent thyroid tissue. There is also an association between increased relaxin levels and lymphocytic thyroiditis. However, there is no association between significant differences in relaxin and other clinical factors like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Relaxin and the Immune Landscape of Benign and Malignant Thyroid Disease