RET/papillary thyroid cancer rearrangement in nonneoplastic thyrocytes: follicular cells of Hashimoto's thyroiditis share low-level recombination events with a subset of papillary carcinoma

The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 01/2006; 91:2414-23.


CONTEXT: RET/papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) is a marker for papillary thyroid carcinoma, but its specificity has been questioned because of the disputed identification of RET/PTC in Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), oncocytic tumors, and other thyroid lesions. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine 1) whether RET/PTC occurs in nonneoplastic follicular cells of HT, and 2) its recombination rate in thyroid tumors. DESIGN/PATIENTS: Forty-three samples from 31 cases of HT were examined using interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with RET probes spanning the breakpoint region; real-time RT-PCR to quantify RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3, and c-RET transcripts; and RT-PCR after laser capture microdissection to enrich samples for follicular cells. The results were compared with those similarly obtained in 34 papillary carcinomas, eight thyroid oncocytic tumors, and 21 normal thyroids. RESULTS: Normal samples showed no RET rearrangement. Sixty-eight percent (15 of 22) of HT were positive by FISH; in all thyroiditis, signals were localized to rare nonneoplastic follicular cells; low-level RET/PTC was identified in 17% (five of 29) of thyroiditis cases by real-time RT-PCR and in an additional six of 11 real-time negative cases after increasing sensitivity with laser capture microdissection. Low RET/PTC1 levels were detected in 26% (nine of 34) of papillary carcinomas with an expression pattern and proportion of FISH-positive cells similar to those of the thyroiditis. Forty-seven percent (16 of 34) of papillary carcinomas and one oncocytic carcinoma expressed high RET/PTC1 mRNA levels. CONCLUSIONS: Low-level RET/PTC recombination occurs in nonneoplastic follicular cells in HT and in a subset of papillary thyroid carcinomas. RET/PTC expression variability should be taken into account for the molecular diagnosis of thyroid lesions. Overlapping molecular mechanisms may govern early stages of tumor development and inflammation in the thyroid.

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    • "In addition, Muzza et al. found RET/PTC1 being more represented in PTCs associated with autoimmunity than in PTC without autoimmunity, suggesting that the association between RET/PTC1 and thyroiditis points to a critical role of this oncoprotein in the modulation of the autoimmune response [41]. Rhoden et al. showed that low-level RET/PTC recombination occurs in nonneoplastic follicular cells of HT and in a subset of papillary thyroid carcinomas, indicating that overlapping molecular mechanisms may govern early stages of tumor development and inflammation in the thyroid [91]. Kang et al. studied the RET/PTC-RAS-BRAF in oxyphil cells in the vicinity of large lymphoid HT infiltrates and in malignant PTC cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cooccurrences of chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (CLT) and thyroid cancer (DTC) have been repeatedly reported. Both CLT and DTC, mainly papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), share some epidemiological and molecular features. In fact, thyroid lymphocytic inflammatory reaction has been observed in association with PTC at variable frequency, although the precise relationship between the two diseases is still debated. It also remains a matter of debate whether the association with a CLT or even an autoimmune disorder could influence the prognosis of PTC. A better understanding about clinical implications of autoimmunity in concurrent thyroid cancer could raise new insights of thyroid cancer immunotherapy. In addition, elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in autoimmune disease and concurrent cancer allowed us to identify new therapeutic strategies against thyroid cancer. The objective of this article was to review recent literature on the association of these disorders and its potential significance.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Journal of Thyroid Research
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    • "Nikiforova and colleagues detected RET/PTC rearrangements only in PTCs not associated with Hashimoto's disease (Nikiforova et al., 2002). Rhoden et al. detected only a few follicular cells expressing very low levels of RET/PTC in Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which suggests that RET/PTC expression does not necessarily predict the development of PTC in patients with thyroiditis (Rhoden et al., 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Some cancer types are strongly associated with chronic inflammatory or infectious diseases whereas others are not, but an inflammatory component is present in most human neoplastic lesions. This review focuses on various aspects of thyroid cancer and inflammation. The incidence of thyroid cancer, in particular of well-differentiated papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs), is increased in autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Thyroid cancer often has an inflammatory cell infiltrate, which includes lymphocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells and mast cells, whose role in thyroid cancer is still not completely understood. However, most experimental evidence suggests these cells exert a protumorigenic function. Moreover, oncoproteins typically expressed in human PTCs, such as RET/PTC, RAS, and BRAF, trigger a proinflammatory programme in thyreocytes. These data suggest that inflammatory molecules are promising targets for thyroid cancer therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is frequently associated with RET gene rearrangements that generate the so-called RET/PTC oncogenes. In this review, we examine the data about the mechanisms of thyroid cell transformation, activation of downstream signal transduction pathways and modulation of gene expression induced by RET/PTC. These findings have advanced our understanding of the processes underlying PTC formation and provide the basis for novel therapeutic approaches to this disease.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2006 · European Journal of Endocrinology
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