RET protein expression has no prognostic impact on the long-term outcome of papillary thyroid carcinoma

F. Basolo, E. Molinaro, L. Agate, A. Pinchera, L. Pollina, G. Chiappetta, C. Monaco, M. Santoro, A. Fusco, P. Miccoli, R. Elisei, M. Capezzone, F. Pacini

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Background: RET proto-oncogene rearrangements (RET/PTC) are causative events in the pathogenesis of a subset of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). The prevalence of RET/PTC varies in different countries and according to specific clinical features: it is higher after radiation exposure and it is claimed to be higher in young patients. Conflicting results are reported regarding the prognostic role of RET/PTC activation. Objective: To investigate the prognostic meaning of RET/PTC rearrangement on the long term outcome of PTC. Methods: We have studied the expression of the RET encoded protein in 127 papillary thyroid carcinomas by immunohistochemistry using a polyclonal antibody against the tyrosine-kinase domain of the RET protein. These cases have been collected during 1970-1985, and have a mean (±S.D.) period of follow-up of 18.6±3.7 years (range 12-27 years). The results have been compared with the patients' outcome. Results: The tyrosine-kinase domain of RET was expressed in 82 (64.6%) papillary carcinomas. Among them, RET was highly expressed in 65 (51.2%) cases and moderately expressed in 17 (13.4%). RET expression was absent in 45 (35.4%) cases. No correlation was found between RET expression and other parameters such as sex, age at diagnosis, tumor class and histological variant. Follow-up analysis showed no influence of RET expression on patients' outcome. By multivariate analysis, age (>45 years) and tumor class IV, but not sex and RET expression were adverse prognostic indicators of death. Conclusion: In conclusion, our analysis indicates that RET expression is frequently found in PTC, and has no influence on tumor outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-604
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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