Background: Approximately 60% of sporadic medullary thyroid carcinomas (sMTC) remain orphan of a recognized genetic cause. Recently, a high percentage of RAS point mutations have been described in RET-negative sMTC. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of RAS point mutations in a large series of MTC collected in four Italian centers. Methods: For this purpose, we studied codons 12, 13, and 61 of H-, K-, and N-RAS genes in 188 MTC samples, either hereditary or sporadic, by direct sequencing. Correlations between the RAS mutational status and the clinical-pathological features of MTC patients as well as a meta-analysis of all published data were performed. Results: The prevalence of RAS mutations in the present series of MTC was 10.1%, and 17.6% when considering only RET-negative cases. RAS mutations were found in MTC tumoral tissue, but not in peripheral blood indicating their somatic origin. A novel mutation in codon 72 (M72I) was found, but with a low or null transforming potential. No association was found between the presence of RAS mutations and the clinical-pathological features of the patients. Although not statistically significant, a positive association between the presence of RAS mutations and a better outcome was observed. The meta-analysis of all published studies confirmed a prevalence of 8.8% for RAS mutations in MTC. Conclusions: The prevalence of RAS mutations in our MTC series was relatively low and consistent with the meta-analysis data. Only somatic RAS mutations were found and only in RET-negative sMTC. Likewise, MTCs that harbor a RAS mutation identify a subgroup of tumors with less aggressive behavior. To our knowledge, this is the largest series of MTCs studied for the presence of mutations in RAS genes and the first meta-analysis on this specific topic.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism