RET receptor expression in thyroid follicular epithelial cell-derived tumors

Giuseppe Bunone, Mauro Uggeri, Piera Mondellini, Marco A. Pierotti, Italia Bongarzone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The RET proto-oncogene encodes a receptor tyrosine kinase for transforming growth factor-β-related neurotrophic factors, which include GDNF and neurturin. The expression of RET proto-oncogene was detected in several tissues, such as spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, salivary gland, and spinal cord, and in several neural crest-derived cell lines. RET expression in the thyroid gland was reported to be restricted to neural crest-derived C cells. The presence of RET mRNA or protein has not yet been reported in thyroid follicular cells. We previously demonstrated the expression of oncogenic rearranged versions of RET in papillary thyroid carcinomas: tumors derived from thyroid follicular cells. To assess the expression of the normal RET proto-oncogene in follicular cells, we analyzed its expression in a panel of neoplasias originating from thyroid follicular epithelial cells: papillary carcinomas and both follicular adenomas and carcinomas. We also demonstrated the presence of RET normal transcripts in two follicular thyroid carcinoma lymph node metastases. Moreover, we found the presence of the RET/ELE1 transcript, the reciprocal complementary form of the oncogenic fusion transcript ELE1/RET, in a papillary thyroid carcinoma specimen expressing the RET/PTC3 oncogene, thus demonstrating that the RET promoter is active in those cells after rearrangement. Finally, we show that in a papillary carcinoma-derived cell line expressing the proto-RET receptor and the related GFRα2 co-receptor, GDNF treatment induced RET tyrosine phosphorylation and subsequent signal transduction pathway, indicating that RET could be active in thyroid follicular cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2845-2849
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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