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Publications (30)

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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance: Although growing evidence points to highly indolent behavior of encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (EFVPTC), most patients with EFVPTC are treated as having conventional thyroid cancer. Objective: To evaluate clinical outcomes, refine diagnostic criteria, and develop a nomenclature that appropriately reflects the biological and clinical characteristics of EFVPTC. Design, setting, and participants: International, multidisciplinary, retrospective study of patients with thyroid nodules diagnosed as EFVPTC, including 109 patients with noninvasive EFVPTC observed for 10 to 26 years and 101 patients with invasive EFVPTC observed for 1 to 18 years. Review of digitized histologic slides collected at 13 sites in 5 countries by 24 thyroid pathologists from 7 countries. A series of teleconferences and a face-to-face conference were used to establish consensus diagnostic criteria and develop new nomenclature. Main outcomes and measures: Frequency of adverse outcomes, including death from disease, distant or locoregional metastases, and structural or biochemical recurrence, in patients with noninvasive and invasive EFVPTC diagnosed on the basis of a set of reproducible histopathologic criteria. Results: Consensus diagnostic criteria for EFVPTC were developed by 24 thyroid pathologists. All of the 109 patients with noninvasive EFVPTC (67 treated with only lobectomy, none received radioactive iodine ablation) were alive with no evidence of disease at final follow-up (median [range], 13 [10-26] years). An adverse event was seen in 12 of 101 (12%) of the cases of invasive EFVPTC, including 5 patients developing distant metastases, 2 of whom died of disease. Based on the outcome information for noninvasive EFVPTC, the name "noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features" (NIFTP) was adopted. A simplified diagnostic nuclear scoring scheme was developed and validated, yielding a sensitivity of 98.6% (95% CI, 96.3%-99.4%), specificity of 90.1% (95% CI, 86.0%-93.1%), and overall classification accuracy of 94.3% (95% CI, 92.1%-96.0%) for NIFTP. Conclusions and relevance: Thyroid tumors currently diagnosed as noninvasive EFVPTC have a very low risk of adverse outcome and should be termed NIFTP. This reclassification will affect a large population of patients worldwide and result in a significant reduction in psychological and clinical consequences associated with the diagnosis of cancer.
    Full-text Article · Apr 2016
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Due to complex multimodal treatments and a lengthy natural history of disease, the impact of radiation therapy for well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC) is challenging to evaluate. We analysed the effect of dose escalation, as enabled by intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), on preventing local-regional failure (LRF) of microscopic and macroscopic WDTC. Method: We performed a retrospective review of WDTC patients treated with IMRT from 1998-2011. Diagnostic imaging demonstrating first LRF was registered to the simulation CT containing the treated radiation isodose volumes. Areas of disease progression were contoured and the relationships of LRFs with isodose volumes were recorded. Results: Thirty patients had a median follow-up of 56 months (range = 1-139). Seventeen (57%) had gross residual, five (17%) had microscopic residual and eight (27%) had clear margins at the time of IMRT. Nine patients (30%) developed LRF, at a median time of 44 months (range = 0-116). Of these, six (67%) had been radiated to gross disease and one (11%) had microscopic residual. In the seven analysable cases, only one (14%) LRF occurred within the 70 Gy isodose volume. Marginal LRFs were: four (57%) outside 70 Gy, one (14%) outside 60 Gy and one (14%) outside 50 Gy. All but one recurrence (86%) occurred in the perioesophageal region. Conclusions: Local-regional failure was seen most in patients who had gross disease at the time of IMRT, almost always occurred outside of the 70 Gy volume and was frequently in the area of oesophageal sparing. Meticulous surgical dissection, especially in the perioesophageal region, should be prioritised to prevent long-term LRF.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2016 · Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Incomplete surgical resection with gross positive tumor margin increases the risk of recurrence in patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC); however, it is not clear whether a microscopic positive margin found only on final pathology has similar implications on patient outcomes. Methods: We conducted a single-institution retrospective review of all patients undergoing total thyroidectomy for T1-T2 WDTC (January 2000-January 2010). Factors that may influence the risk of locoregional recurrence or distant metastasis were evaluated by univariate and multivariate analysis. Results: Of 1000 consecutive patients undergoing surgical resection for WDTC, 684 T1-T2 cancers were included. Mean age was 46 years and 81 % were women. Of this total cohort, 78 (11 %) patients had microscopic positive margins. Radioactive iodine (RAI) was administered in 47/78 (60 %) patients with positive margins versus 312/606 (51 %) patients without positive margins. After a mean follow-up of 46 months, 53 (8 %) patients developed recurrent disease (1 local and 52 nodal). On multivariate analysis, nodal metastases (N1, odds ratio [OR] 7.7) and contralateral multifocality (OR 3.7) were independent risk factors for recurrent disease. A microscopic positive margin was not a risk factor for recurrence. Conclusions: A microscopic positive margin found only on final pathological analysis does not increase the risk of recurrence in T1-T2 WDTC. Clinicians should interpret such pathology findings accordingly when considering further surveillance and treatment decisions such as the use of RAI ablation.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2015 · Annals of Surgical Oncology
  • Article · Jan 2015 · Cancer
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The highly effective treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) 2-amplified breast cancer has proven challenging because of a signal buffering capacity inherent in the functionally relevant HER2-HER3 target. HER2-HER3 signaling can be inactivated by doses of lapatinib that fully inactivate the HER2 kinase. In mouse models, such doses are not tolerable in continuous administration, but they are tolerable and highly effective in intermittent dosing. We pursued the clinical translation of this treatment hypothesis. We conducted a phase I dose-escalation study in women with advanced HER2-overexpressing breast cancer. Lapatinib was administered on days 1 through 5 of repeating 14-day cycles. Dose escalation was conducted using a 3+3 design with plasma lapatinib level monitoring. Forty patients were evaluable for toxicity, and 34 patients were evaluable for dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). Lapatinib dose was escalated to 7,000 mg per day in twice-daily dosing with no DLTs; however, plasma lapatinib concentrations plateaued in this dose range. Additional cohorts evaluated strategies to increase lapatinib exposure, including the food effect, CYP3A4 inhibition, and dose fractionation. Of these, only ketoconazole was able to increase lapatinib exposure, despite highly variable lapatinib bioavailability. Intolerable exposure levels were not encountered. Eight patients (20%) experienced grade 3 diarrhea. Six patients achieved a response, and dramatic responses were seen in three patients with lapatinib concentrations approaching 10,000 ng/mL. Lapatinib exposure can be safely and significantly increased through intermittent dosing but reaches a ceiling that currently impedes clinical translation of the treatment hypothesis. Preliminary efficacy data suggest that exposures approaching those seen in mouse models can result in highly significant tumor responses.
    Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Clinical Oncology
  • Elham Khanafshar · Britt-Marie Ljung
    Article · Jan 2013 · Pathology Case Reviews
  • Elham Khanafshar · Annemieke van Zante
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperparathyroidism is a common endocrine disease with several causes. Of these etiologies, parathyroid carcinoma is very rare, occurring in less than 1% of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism. Parathyroid carcinoma can be diagnosed by unequivocal evidence of capsular or vascular invasion or invasion of adjacent tissues or organs. The diagnosis of malignancy can be challenging in the absence of clear-cut invasion. This article presents the clinical and histopathologic characteristic of parathyroid carcinoma, its differential diagnosis, and ways to approach problematic cases. Some useful ancillary studies are also discussed.
    Article · Jul 2011 · Pathology Case Reviews
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trask/CDCP1 is a transmembrane glycoprotein widely expressed in epithelial tissues whose functions are just beginning to be understood, but include a role as an anti-adhesive effector of Src kinases. Early studies looking at RNA transcript levels seemed to suggest overexpression in some cancers, but immunostaining studies are now providing more accurate analyses of its expression. In an immuno-histochemical survey of human cancer specimens, we find that Trask expression is retained, reduced or sometimes lost in some tumors compared with their normal epithelial tissue counterparts. A survey of human cancer cell lines also show a similar wide variation in the expression of Trask, including some cell types with the loss of Trask expression, and additional cell types that have lost the physiological detachment-induced phosphorylation of Trask. Three experimental models were established to interrogate the role of Trask in tumor progression, including two gain-of-function models with tet-inducible expression of Trask in tumor cells lacking Trask expression, and one loss-of-function model to suppress Trask expression in tumor cells with abundant Trask expression. The induction of Trask expression and phosphorylation in MCF-7 cells and in 3T3v-src cells was associated with a reduction in tumor metastases while the shRNA-induced knockdown of Trask in L3.6pl cancer cells was associated with increased tumor metastases. The results from these three models are consistent with a tumor-suppressing role for Trask. These data identify Trask as one of several potential candidates for functionally relevant tumor suppressors on the 3p21.3 region of the genome frequently lost in human cancers.
    Full-text Article · Jun 2011 · Oncogene
  • Dataset · May 2011
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) commonly presents with lymph node (LN) metastases, and has a worse prognosis than papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Tumor size and LN involvement have been shown to affect stage of disease; however, to our knowledge, ours is the first study that attempts to correlate anterior neck pain on presentation with the extent of disease. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients with MTC who underwent an operation from February 1998 through December 2008. We compared the symptom of anterior neck pain with the pathologic extent of disease. Our control group comprised patients who underwent an operation for PTC. Analysis was performed using the Fisher's exact test and the Mann-Whitney test. Results: Of the 109 patients with MTC, 50 (46%) met our inclusion criteria. Of the 50 patients with MTC, 11 presented with neck pain, compared to 3 of the 50 patients with PTC (p = 0.041). Of those 11 patients, 9 (82%) had LN involvement on final pathology, as compared with 14 (36%) of the 39 without neck pain (p = 0.014). Of patients with neck pain, 18% were diagnosed at stage I to II and 82% at stage III to IV, compared to 64% at stage I to II and 36% at stage III to IV (p = 0.014). Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that more patients with MTC present with anterior neck pain than do patients with PTC and that patients with MTC and neck pain have an increased risk of LN metastases. The results of this study suggest that MTC patients, who present with concomitant neck pain, should undergo a total thyroidectomy, prophylactic bilateral central neck dissection, and ipsilateral lateral neck dissection.
    Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of Cancer
  • Jacob Moalem · Daniel X Choi · Elham Khanafshar · [...] · Electron Kebebew
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thyroid and lung cancers, two malignancies with similar immunohistological characteristics, have vastly different biologic behaviors and treatment approaches. As thyroid cancers commonly spread to the lungs, metastatic thyroid cancer should be included in the differential diagnosis of a pulmonary lesion or lesions. A 54-year-old woman with a remote history of stage IV nonsmall cell lung cancer was found to have FDG avidity in the thyroid and right cervical lymph nodes. Subsequent ultrasonographic findings and FNA cytology led to a total thyroidectomy, bilateral central lymphadenectomy, and right modified radical lymph node dissection for primary thyroid cancer. Reviews and comparisons of the pulmonary and cervical surgical specimens revealed that the patient had been misdiagnosed for the previous 6 years; she had metastatic papillary thyroid cancer to the lung. The patient's original diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer was based upon the original lung biopsy showing positive thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1) immunostaining. The original diagnosis was questioned because of her long survival when she was diagnosed with locally advanced papillary thyroid cancer. Further analyses of the immunohistological characteristics of both surgical specimens--including staining for TTF-1, thyroglobulin, CD57, S-100, and CEA--documented the correct diagnosis. A thorough understanding of the natural history and surgical pathology, including immunohistology, of lung and thyroid cancers is necessary for a correct and timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Because TTF-1 expression is seen in both thyroid and lung cancers, careful consideration should be given to both malignancies when evaluating patients with thyroid and pulmonary nodules.
    Article · Mar 2011 · Thyroid: official journal of the American Thyroid Association
  • Ricardo V Lloyd · Darya Buehler · Elham Khanafshar
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Papillary thyroid carcinomas are the most common thyroid cancers and constitute more than 70% of thyroid malignancies. The most common etiologic factor is radiation, but genetic susceptibility and other factors also contribute to the development of papillary thyroid carcinoma. The most common variants include conventional, follicular variant and tall cell variant. However, many other uncommon variants have been described including oncocytic, columnar cell, diffuse sclerosing and solid forms. Immunohistochemical staining with TTF-1 and thyroglobulin is very useful in confirming the diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma especially in metastatic sites. Markers such as HBME-1 and CITED1 can assist in separating some difficult cases of follicular variants of papillary thyroid carcinomas from follicular adenomas. Molecular studies have shown that the BRAF V600E mutation is found mainly in papillary and anaplastic thyroid carcinomas. Other molecular markers such as HMGA2 and insulin-like growth factor II mRNA binding protein 3 have been used recently as molecular tests to separate papillary thyroid carcinoma and its variants from follicular adenomas and other benign thyroid nodules.
    Article · Mar 2011 · Head and Neck Pathology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The incidence of thyroid cancer has doubled over the past decade. The reason for this dramatic increase in incidence is controversial. Some investigators have suggested that the increased incidence is because of increased detection of small primary tumors as a result of diagnostic scrutiny. Conversely, some investigators have demonstrated an increased incidence across all tumor sizes, suggesting that other factors may play a role. This study was undertaken to investigate the clinical, pathologic, and molecular changes present in papillary thyroid cancer over a 15-year period during which the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer doubled. A total of 628 patients with conventional papillary thyroid cancer and 228 tumor samples from a single institution were analyzed from 1991 to 2005. Time-trend analyses of demographic, clinical, pathologic, and tumor genotype were performed over three 5-year time periods: group I (1991-1995), group II (1996-2000), and group III (2001-2005). The authors found no differences in age, sex, ethnicity, primary tumor size, rate of extrathyroidal invasion, or overall TNM cancer stage among the 3 time groups. The rate of BRAF V600E mutation was significantly higher in group III (88% BRAF V600E positive) as compared with groups I and II (51% and 43%, respectively) (P < .001). The rate of all the common somatic mutations was also significantly higher in group III (92% positive) as compared with groups I and II (68% and 64%, respectively) (P < .002). The rate of BRAF V600E mutation increased significantly over a 15-year period at the authors' institution. The findings suggest that a higher rate of BRAF mutation in papillary thyroid cancer may contribute to the increasing incidence of thyroid cancer.
    Article · Mar 2011 · Cancer
  • Article · Feb 2011 · Journal of Surgical Research
  • Elham Khanafshar · Ricardo V Lloyd
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Papillary thyroid carcinoma is the most common type of thyroid malignancy. The diagnostic features of these tumors include characteristic nuclear cytology. However, many variants have been reported with different morphology and molecular profiles. Although the vast majority of papillary thyroid carcinomas have an excellent prognosis, some variants of papillary thyroid carcinoma can have a more aggressive course. With this increased attention to papillary thyroid carcinoma variants has come the need to sort out which variants are clinically important and should be recognized by practicing pathologists. The main objectives of this review article are to (1) summarize the gross and histopathologic features of papillary thyroid carcinoma; (2) provide an overview of the subtypes of papillary thyroid carcinoma and their prognosis; (3) discuss established and emerging data on the immunohistochemical findings that are helpful in differential diagnosis; and (4) summarize molecular findings and pathogenesis of these lesions.
    Article · Jan 2011 · Advances in anatomic pathology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies are the cornerstone of preoperative evaluation of thyroid nodules, but FNA diagnostic performance has varied across different studies. In the course of collecting thyroid FNA specimens for the development of a molecular diagnostic test, local cytology and both local and expert panel surgical pathology results were reviewed. Prospective FNAs were collected at 21 clinical sites. Banked FNAs were collected from two academic centers. Cytology and corresponding local and expert panel surgical pathology results were compared to each other and to a meta-review of 11 recently published U.S.-based thyroid FNA studies. FNA diagnostic performance was comparable between the study specimens and the meta-review. Histopathology malignancy rates for prospective clinic FNAs were 34% for cytology indeterminate cases and 98% for cytology malignant cases, comparable to the figures found in the meta-review (34% and 97%, respectively). However, histopathology malignancy rates were higher for cytology benign cases in the prospective clinic FNA subcohort (11%) than in the meta-review (6%, with meta-review rates of 10% at community sites and 2% at academic centers, p < 0.0001). Resection rates for prospective clinic FNAs were also comparable to the meta-review for both cytology indeterminate cases (62% vs. 59%, respectively) and cytology malignant cases (82% vs. 81%, respectively). Surgical pathology categorical disagreement (benign vs. malignant diagnosis) was higher between local pathology and a consensus of the two expert panelists (11%) than between the two expert panelists both pre- (8%) and postconferral (3%). Although recent guidelines for FNA biopsy and interpretation have been published, the rates of false-positive and false-negative results remain a challenge. Two-thirds of cytology indeterminate cases were benign postoperatively and may decrease with the development of an accurate molecular diagnostic test. High disagreement rates between local and expert panel histopathology diagnosis suggests that central review for surgical diagnoses should be used when developing diagnostic tests based on resected thyroid specimens.
    Article · Dec 2010 · Thyroid: official journal of the American Thyroid Association
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approximately 30% of fine needle aspiration biopsies of the thyroid have inconclusive results. We conducted a prospective trial to determine whether clinical and molecular markers could be used in combination to improve the accuracy of thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy. Clinical, tumor genotyping for common somatic mutations (BRAF V600E, NRAS, KRAS, RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3, and NTRK1), and the gene expression levels of 6 candidate diagnostic markers were analyzed by univariate and multivariate methods in 341 patients to determine whether they could distinguish reliably benign from malignant thyroid neoplasms, and a scoring model was derived. By a multivariate analysis, fine needle aspiration biopsy cytology classification, the presence of a NRAS mutation, and the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 expression level were associated jointly with malignancy. The overall accuracy of the scoring model, including these 3 variables, to distinguish benign from malignant thyroid tumors was 91%, including 67% for the indeterminate and 77% for the suspicious FNA subgroups. Fine needle aspiration biopsy cytology classification, the presence of NRAS mutation, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 messenger RNA expression levels in combination provide a greater diagnostic accuracy than fine needle aspiration biopsy cytology alone to allow selection of more definitive initial operative treatment. The sensitivity of the scoring model, however, was too low to avoid the need for diagnostic thyroidectomies for indeterminate fine needle aspiration biopsy findings.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2010 · Surgery
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is indeterminate or suspicious in up to 30% of cases and these patients are commonly subjected to at least a diagnostic hemithyroidectomy. If malignant on histology, a completion thyroidectomy is usually performed, which may be associated with higher morbidity. To determine the clinical utility of genetic testing in thyroid FNA biopsy, we conducted a prospective clinical trial. Four hundred seventeen patients with 455 thyroid nodules were enrolled and had genetic testing for common somatic mutations (BRAF, NRAS, KRAS) and gene rearrangements (RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3, RAS, TRK1) by PCR and direct sequencing and by nested PCR, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of genetic testing in thyroid FNA biopsy were determined based on the histologic diagnosis. One hundred twenty-five of 455 thyroid nodule FNA biopsies were indeterminate or suspicious on cytologic examination. Overall, 50 mutations were identified (23 BRAF, 4 RET/PTC1, 2 RET/PTC3, 21 NRAS) in the thyroid FNA biopsies. There were significantly more mutations detected in malignant thyroid nodules than in benign (P = 0.0001). For thyroid FNA biopsies that were indeterminate or suspicious, genetic testing had a sensitivity of 12%, specificity of 98%, PPV of 38%, and NPV of 65%. Genetic testing for somatic mutations in thyroid FNA biopsy samples is feasible and identifies a subset of malignant thyroid neoplasms that are indeterminate or suspicious on FNA biopsy. Genetic testing for common somatic genetic alterations thus could allow for more definitive initial thyroidectomy in those with positive results.
    Article · Nov 2010 · World Journal of Surgery
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular factors that control parathyroid tumorigenesis are poorly understood. In the absence of local invasion or metastasis, distinguishing benign from malignant parathyroid neoplasm is difficult on histologic examination. We studied the microRNA (miRNA) profile in normal, hyperplastic, and benign and malignant parathyroid tumors to better understand the molecular factors that may play a role in parathyroid tumorigenesis and that may serve as diagnostic markers for parathyroid carcinoma. miRNA arrays containing 825 human microRNAs with four duplicate probes per miRNA were used to profile parathyroid tumor (12 adenomas, 9 carcinomas, and 15 hyperplastic) samples normalized to four reference normal parathyroid glands. Differentially expressed miRNA were validated by real-time quantitative TaqMan polymerase chain reaction (PCR). One hundred fifty-six miRNAs in parathyroid hyperplasia, 277 microRNAs in parathyroid adenoma, and 167 microRNAs in parathyroid carcinomas were significantly dysregulated as compared with normal parathyroid glands [false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05]. By supervised clustering analysis, all parathyroid carcinomas clustered together. Three miRNAs (miR-26b, miR-30b, and miR-126*) were significantly dysregulated between parathyroid carcinoma and parathyroid adenoma. Receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis showed mir-126* was the best diagnostic marker, with area under the curve of 0.776. Most miRNAs are downregulated in parathyroid carcinoma, while in parathyroid hyperplasia most miRNAs are upregulated. miRNA profiling shows distinct differentially expressed miRNAs by tumor type which may serve as helpful adjunct to distinguish parathyroid adenoma from carcinoma.
    Article · Nov 2010 · Annals of Surgical Oncology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs ( approximately 22 bp) that post-transcriptionally regulate protein expression and are found to be differentially expressed in a number of human cancers. There is increasing evidence to suggest that miRNAs could be useful in cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy. We performed miRNA microarray expression profiling on a cohort of 12 benign and 12 malignant pheochromocytomas and identified a number of differentially expressed miRNAs. These results were validated in a separate cohort of ten benign and ten malignant samples using real-time quantitative RT-PCR; benign samples had a minimum follow-up of at least 2 years. It was found that IGF2 as well as its intronic miR-483-5p was over-expressed, while miR-15a and miR-16 were under-expressed in malignant tumours compared with benign tumours. These miRNAs were found to be diagnostic and prognostic markers for malignant pheochromocytoma. The functional role of miR-15a and miR-16 was investigated in vitro in the rat PC12 pheochromocytoma cell line, and these miRNAs were found to regulate cell proliferation via their effect on cyclin D1 and apoptosis. These data indicate that miRNAs play a pivotal role in the biology of malignant pheochromocytoma, and represent an important class of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets warranting further investigation.
    Full-text Article · Sep 2010 · Endocrine Related Cancer