Molecular signatures of medullary thyroid carcinoma by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging

Andrew Smith, Manuel Galli, Isabella Piga, Vanna Denti, Martina Stella, Clizia Chinello, Nicola Fusco, Davide Leni, Marco Manzoni, Gaia Roversi, Mattia Garancini, Angela Ida Pincelli, Vincenzo Cimino, Giulia Capitoli, Fulvio Magni, Fabio Pagni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The main aim of the study was to assess the feasibility of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) in the pathological investigation of Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC). Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples from seven MTC patients were analysed by MALDI-MSI in order to detect proteomic alterations within tumour lesions and to define the molecular profiles of specific findings, such as amyloid deposition and C cell hyperplasia (CCH). nLC-ESI MS/MS was employed for the identification of amyloid components and to select alternative proteomic markers of MTC pathogenesis. Results highlighted the potential of MALDI-MSI to confirm the classic immunohistochemical methods employed for the diagnosis of MTC, with good sensitivity and specificity. Intratumoural amyloid components were also detected and identified, and were characterised by calcitonin, apolipoprotein E, apolipoprotein IV, and vitronectin. The tryptic peptide profiles representative of MTC and CCH were distinctly different, with four alternative markers for MTC being detected; K1C18, and three histones (H2A, H3C, and H4). Finally, a further 115 proteins were identified through the nLC-ESI-MS/MS analysis alone, with moesin, veriscan, and lumican being selected due to their potential involvement in MTC pathogenesis. This approach represents a complimentary strategy that could be employed to detect new proteomic markers of MTC. Statement of significance: Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a rare endocrine malignancy that originates from the parafollicular C-cells of the thyroid. The diagnosis is typically established using a combination of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) of a suspicious nodule along with the demonstrable elevation of serum biomarkers, such as calcitonin and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). Unfortunately, this combination is often associated with a high degree of false-positive results and this can lead to misdiagnosis and avoidable total thyroidectomy. The current study presents the potential role of MALDI-MSI in the search for new proteomic markers of MTC with diagnostic and prognostic significance. MALDI-MSI was capable of detecting the classic immunohistochemical markers employed for the diagnosis of MTC, with good sensitivity and specificity. Furthermore, the complementary combination of MALDI-MSI and nLC-ESI-MS/MS analysis, using a single tissue section, enabled further potential markers to be identified and their spatial localisation visualised within tumoural regions. Such findings could be a valuable starting point for further studies focused on confirming the data presented here using thyroid FNABs, with the final objective being to provide complimentary assistance for the detection of MTC during the pre-operative phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-123
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Volume191
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • C cell hyperplasia
  • Cancer
  • Mass spectrometry imaging
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry

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    Smith, A., Galli, M., Piga, I., Denti, V., Stella, M., Chinello, C., Fusco, N., Leni, D., Manzoni, M., Roversi, G., Garancini, M., Pincelli, A. I., Cimino, V., Capitoli, G., Magni, F., & Pagni, F. (2019). Molecular signatures of medullary thyroid carcinoma by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging. Journal of Proteomics, 191, 114-123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jprot.2018.03.021