Transmembrane protease serine 4 (TMPRSS4) may be a novel biomarker that can predict prognosis and immune infiltration in thyroid carcinoma, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), according to a new study published in BMC Endocrine Disorders.

TMPRSS4 is already associated with the prognosis of many types of cancer. However, its role in immune infiltration in thyroid carcinoma is unclear.

Read more about the etiology of MTC

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Here, a team of researchers from the Department of Etiology, Shanxi Province Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Taiyuan, China evaluated the expression of TMPRSS4 in tumor tissue using the Tumor Immune Estimation Resource (TIMER) database and Oncomine. 

The researchers also analyzed the prognostic value of TMPRSS4 and its relationship with the abundance of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and immune markers. 

They found that TMPRSS4 was highly expressed in thyroid carcinoma. It was also associated with lymphatic metastasis, advanced stage, histological subtype, and favorable clinical outcomes.

Moreover, TMPRSS4 was positively related to tumor immune infiltration and the expression of immune cell gene markers.

Finally, TMPRSS4 was closely linked to chemokines and their receptors as well as the immunosuppressive checkpoints CTLA-4, PD-1, and HLA-G.

The researchers concluded that TMPRSS4 could be “a promising potential candidate biomarker for the immune treatment of [thyroid carcinoma] in the future.”

Thyroid carcinoma is the most common type of endocrine malignancy. In 2% to 4% of cases, the cancer arises from the parafollicular cells of the thyroid gland and behaves quite differently from other types of thyroid carcinoma. In this case, the disease is called MTC.

TMPRSS4 is a cancer-associated protease, the role of which is mainly to regulate malignant phenotypes such as tumor invasion and metastasis. It does so by either mediating epithelial to mesenchymal transition or promoting the proliferation of cancer cells.


Xu X, Sun T, Jing J. TMPRSS4 is a novel biomarker and correlated with immune infiltration in thyroid carcinoma. BMC Endocr Disord. Published online November 16, 2022. doi:10.1186/s12902-022-01203-3