[Molecular analysis of structural abnormalities in papillary thyroid carcinoma gene]

E V Vasil'ev, P O Rumiantsev, V A Saenko, A A Il'in, E Iu Poliakova, M V Nemtsova, D V Zaletaev
Molekuliarnaia Biologiia 2004, 38 (4): 642-53
Rearrangements of the RET proto-oncogene (RET/PTC) and BRAF gene mutations are the major genetic alterations in the etiopathogenesis of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). We have analyzed a series of 118 benign and malignant follicular cell-derived thyroid tumors for RET/PTC rearrangements and BRAF gene mutations. Oncogenic rearrangements of RET proto-oncogene was revealed by semiquantitative RT-PCR of simultaneously generated fragments corresponding to tyrosine kinase (TK) and extracellular RET domains. The clear quantitative shift toward the TK fragment is indicative for the presence of RET rearrangements. The overall frequency of RET/PTC rearrangements in PTC was 14% (12 of 85), including 7 RET/PTC1, 2 RET/PTC3, 1 deltaRFP/RET and 2 apparently uncharacterized rearrangements. The most common T1796A transversion in BRAF gene was detected in 55 of 91 PTC (60%) using mutant-allele-specific PCR. We also identified two additional mutations: the substitution G1753A (E585K) and a case of 12-bp deletion in BRAF exon 15. Moreover, there was no overlap between PTC harboring BRAF and RET/PTC mutations, which altogether were present in 75.8% of cases (69 of 91). Taken together, our observations are consistent with the notion that BRAF mutations appear to be an alternative pathway to oncogenic MAPK activation in PTCs without RET/PTC activation. Neither RET/PTC rearrangements nor BRAF muta-tions were detected in any of 3 follicular thyroid carcinomas, 11 follicular adenomas and 13 nodular goiters. The high prevalence of BRAF mutations and RET/PTC rearrangements in PTCs and the specificity of these alterations to PTC make them potentially important markers for the preoperative tumor diagnosis.

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