PAX8-GLIS3 gene fusion is a pathognomonic genetic alteration of hyalinizing trabecular tumors of the thyroid

Caterina Marchiò, Arnaud Da Cruz Paula, Rodrigo Gularte-Merida, Thais Basili, Alissa Brandes, Edaise M da Silva, Catarina Silveira, Lorenzo Ferrando, Jasna Metovic, Francesca Maletta, Laura Annaratone, Fresia Pareja, Brian P Rubin, Aaron P Hoschar, Giovanni De Rosa, Stefano La Rosa, Massimo Bongiovanni, Bibianna Purgina, Simonetta Piana, Marco VolanteBritta Weigelt, Jorge S Reis-Filho, Mauro Papotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hyalinizing trabecular adenoma/tumor is a rare and poorly characterized follicular-derived thyroid neoplasm recently shown to harbor recurrent PAX8-GLIS1 or PAX8-GLIS3 gene fusions. Here we sought to define the repertoire of genetic alterations of hyalinizing trabecular tumors, and whether PAX8-GLIS3 fusions are pathognomonic for hyalinizing trabecular tumors. A discovery series of eight hyalinizing trabecular tumors was subjected to RNA-sequencing (n = 8), whole-exome sequencing (n = 3) or targeted massively parallel sequencing (n = 5). No recurrent somatic mutations or copy number alterations were identified in hyalinizing trabecular tumor, whereas RNA-sequencing revealed the presence of a recurrent genetic rearrangement involving PAX8 (2q14.1) and GLIS3 (9p24.2) genes in all cases. In this in-frame fusion gene, which comprised exons 1-2 of PAX8 and exons 3-11 of GLIS3, GLIS3 is likely placed under the regulation of PAX8. Reverse transcription RT-PCR and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization analyses of a validation series of 26 hyalinizing trabecular tumors revealed that the PAX8-GLIS3 gene fusion was present in all hyalinizing trabecular tumors (100%). No GLIS1 rearrangements were identified. Conversely, no PAX8-GLIS3 gene fusions were detected in a cohort of 237 control thyroid neoplasms, including 15 trabecular thyroid lesions highly resembling hyalinizing trabecular tumor from a morphological standpoint, as well as trabecular/solid follicular adenomas, solid/trabecular variants of papillary carcinoma, and Hurthle cell adenomas or carcinomas. Our data provide evidence to suggest that the PAX8-GLIS3 fusion is pathognomonic for hyalinizing trabecular tumors, and that the presence of the PAX8-GLIS3 fusion in thyroid neoplasms may be used as an ancillary marker for the diagnosis of hyalinizing trabecular tumor, thereby avoiding overtreatment in case of misdiagnoses with apparently similar malignant tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1734-1743
Number of pages10
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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