Molecular Analysis of Structural Abnormalities in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Genome
ABSTRACT Rearrangements of the protooncogene RET (RET/PTC) and somatic mutations of the gene BRAF are the most common events in the etiopathogenesis of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). The rates of RET/PTC rearrangements and BRAF mutations in different nodular formations of the thyroid gland (TG) have been estimated. Comparative expression analysis of the extracellular (EC) and tyrosine kinase (TK) domains of RET has shown that 14% (12 out of 85) of PTC cases are RET/PTC-positive, including one RFP/RET-, two RET/PTC3-, and seven RET/PTC1-positive tumors, as well as two unidentified chimeric RET/PTC oncogenes. The standard T1796A transversion in the gene BRAF has been found in 60% (55 out of 91) PTC cases with the use of amplification refractory mutation system–polymerase chain reaction (ARMS–PCR). Somatic mutation G1753A and deletion del1800_1811 have been identified in PTC for the first time. The absence of the BRAF mutations in RET/PTC-positive tumors allows these two genetic defects to be regarded as alternative mechanisms of the RAS–RAF–MEK–ERK mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade activation in PTCs. In none of the three follicular thyroid carcinomas (FTCs), 11 follicular thyroid adenomas (FTAs), and 13 nodular goiters have either BRAF mutations or RET/PTC rearrangements been found. Thus, the RET/PTC chimeric oncogenes and BRAF somatic mutations are specific markers of PTC and can be used for the preoperative diagnosis of these tumors.
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