Genetic alterations in the Ras/Raf/mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling pathways in the follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma

Libero Santarpia, Jeffrey N. Myers, Steven I. Sherman, Francesco Trimarchi, Gary L. Clayman, Adel K. El-Naggar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (FVPTC) is the second most common histotype among papillary thyroid cancers (PTCs). Although the prognosis of FVPTC is similar to the conventional phenotype, differential diagnostic difficulties may not be uncommon with other follicular thyroid neoplasms, and little is known about their genetic alterations. Defining these alterations may lead to the identification of diagnostic and biologic markers. METHODS: In this study, the authors evaluated genetic alterations and downstream-activated signals of the Ras/Raf-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene (Akt) (PI3K/Akt) signaling pathways in 30 FVPTC tissue specimens. Tumors and matched normal thyroid samples were tested for RAS, for the v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene (BRAF) substitution of valine (V) for glutamate (E) at codon 600 (the V600E mutation), for phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), for catalytic PI3k p110 subunit alpha (PIK3CA), for AKT, and for the presence of rearranged during transfection (ret) proto-oncogene/PTC (RET-PTC) and paired box-8 (PAX8)/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) fusion protein (PAX8-PPARγ) rearrangements by direct sequencing and reverse transcriptase-polymerases chain reaction analyses, respectively.Western blot analysis was used to assess the effects of these gene abnormalities on the activation of the 2 pathways. RESULTS: Genetic alterations were identified in 70% of FVPTCs. Activation of the MAPK and PI3K pathways was observed in 74% and 22% of tumors, respectively. The alterations that were identified in the genes of the 2 pathways were mutually exclusive. Chromosomal RET-PTC and PAX8-PPARγ rearrangements were observed in 20% and 17% of tumors, respectively. It was noteworthy that some FVPTCs with RET-PTC had the coactivation of both pathways. CONCLUSIONS: RET-PTC and PAX8-PPARγ rearrangements and mutations of the neuroblastoma RAS viral oncogene homolog N-RAS at codon 61 were the most common genetic alterations in FVPTCs. Activation of the MAPK pathway was a frequent event in FVPTCs, and the PI3K signaling pathway could be coactivated in RET-PTC tumors. These findings may have important therapeutic implication in patients with FVPTC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2974-2983
Number of pages10
JournalCancer
Volume116
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2010

Keywords

  • Follicular variant papillary thyroid cancer
  • Genetic alterations
  • Mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway
  • PAX8-PPARγ translocations
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway
  • Phosphorylation activation
  • RET-PTC rearrangements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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