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Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy Reveals Aberrant Triglyceride Accumulation in Lymphatic Metastasis of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma

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posted on 2024-04-03, 13:05 authored by Junjie Zeng, Guoliang Wu, Hao Jia, Changjian Liu, Chang Liu, Yi Zhang, Shaoyan Liu, Jian Wang, Shuhua Yue
Lipid metabolic alterations are known to play a crucial role in cancer metastasis. As a key hub in lipid metabolism, intracellular neutral lipid accumulation in lipid droplets (LDs) has become a signature of aggressive human cancers. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether lipid accumulation displays distinctive features in metastatic lesions compared to the primary ones. Here, we integrated multicolor stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) imaging with confocal Raman spectroscopy on the same platform to quantitatively analyze the amount and composition of LDs in intact human thyroid tissues in situ without any processing or labeling. Inspiringly, we found aberrant accumulation of triglycerides (TGs) in lymphatic metastases but not in normal thyroid, primary papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), or normal lymph node. In addition, the unsaturation degree of unsaturated TGs was significantly higher in the lymphatic metastases from patients diagnosed with late-stage (T3/T4) PTC compared to those of patients diagnosed with early-stage (T1/T2) PTC. Furthermore, both public sequencing data analysis and our RNA-seq transcriptomic experiment showed significantly higher expression of alcohol dehydrogenase-1B (ADH1B), which is critical to lipid uptake and transport, in lymphatic metastases relative to the primary ones. In summary, these findings unravel the lipid accumulation as a novel marker and therapeutic target for PTC lymphatic metastasis that has a poor response to the regular radioactive iodine therapy.

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