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      Heterogeneity of Thyroid Cancer

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          Abstract

          There are 5 main histological types of thyroid cancers (TCs): papillary, follicular (also known as differentiated), poorly differentiated, anaplastic (the most aggressive form), and medullary TC, and only the latter arises from thyroid C cells. These different forms of TCs show significant variability, both among and within tumours. This great variation is particularly notable among the first 4 types, which all originate from thyroid follicular cells. Importantly, this heterogeneity is not limited to histopathological diversity only but is also manifested as variation in several genetic and/or epigenetic alterations, the numbers of interactions between the tumour and surrounding microenvironment, and interpatient differences, for example. All these factors contribute to the great complexity in the development of a tumour from cancer cells. In the present review, we summarise the knowledge accumulated about the heterogeneity of TCs. Further research in this direction should help to gain a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms contributing to the development and diversity of TCs, paving the way toward more effective treatment strategies.

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          Most cited references 76

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          Mutational profile of advanced primary and metastatic radioactive iodine-refractory thyroid cancers reveals distinct pathogenetic roles for BRAF, PIK3CA, and AKT1.

          Patients with poorly differentiated thyroid cancers (PDTC), anaplastic thyroid cancers (ATC), and radioactive iodine-refractory (RAIR) differentiated thyroid cancers have a high mortality, particularly if positive on [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET). To obtain comprehensive genetic information on advanced thyroid cancers, we designed an assay panel for mass spectrometry genotyping encompassing the most significant oncogenes in this disease: 111 mutations in RET, BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, KRAS, PIK3CA, AKT1, and other related genes were surveyed in 31 cell lines, 52 primary tumors (34 PDTC and 18 ATC), and 55 RAIR, FDG-PET-positive recurrences and metastases (nodal and distant) from 42 patients. RAS mutations were more prevalent than BRAF (44 versus 12%; P = 0.002) in primary PDTC, whereas BRAF was more common than RAS (39 versus 13%; P = 0.04) in PET-positive metastatic PDTC. BRAF mutations were highly prevalent in ATC (44%) and in metastatic tumors from RAIR PTC patients (95%). Among patients with multiple metastases, 9 of 10 showed between-sample concordance for BRAF or RAS mutations. By contrast, 5 of 6 patients were discordant for mutations of PIK3CA or AKT1. AKT1_G49A was found in 9 specimens, exclusively in metastases. This is the first documentation of AKT1 mutation in thyroid cancer. Thus, RAIR, FDG-PET-positive metastases are enriched for BRAF mutations. If BRAF is mutated in the primary, it is likely that the metastases will harbor the defect. By contrast, absence of PIK3CA/AKT1 mutations in one specimen may not reflect the status at other sites because these mutations arise during progression, an important consideration for therapies directed at phosphoinositide 3-kinase effectors.
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            RAS point mutations and PAX8-PPAR gamma rearrangement in thyroid tumors: evidence for distinct molecular pathways in thyroid follicular carcinoma.

            A series of 88 conventional follicular and Hürthle cell thyroid tumors were analyzed for RAS mutations and PAX8-PPAR gamma rearrangements using molecular methods and for galectin-3 and HBME-1 expression by immunohistochemistry. A novel LightCycler technology-based method was developed to detect point mutations in codons 12/13 and 61 of the H-RAS, K-RAS, and N-RAS genes. Forty-nine percent of conventional follicular carcinomas had RAS mutations, 36% had PAX8-PPAR gamma rearrangement, and only one (3%) had both. In follicular adenomas, 48% had RAS mutations, 4% had PAX8-PPAR gamma rearrangement, and 48% had neither. Follicular carcinomas with PAX8-PPAR gamma typically showed immunoreactivity for galectin-3 but not for HBME-1, tended to present at a younger patient age and be smaller size, and were almost always overtly invasive. In contrast, follicular carcinomas with RAS mutations most often displayed an HBME-1-positive/galectin-3-negative immunophenotype and were either minimally or overtly invasive. Hürthle cell tumors infrequently had PAX8-PPAR gamma rearrangement or RAS mutations. These results suggest that conventional follicular thyroid carcinomas develop through at least two distinct and virtually nonoverlapping molecular pathways initiated by either RAS point mutation or PAX8-PPAR gamma rearrangement.
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              Genetic alterations and their relationship in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway in thyroid cancer.

              To investigate the overall occurrence and relationship of genetic alterations in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway in thyroid tumors and explore the scope of this pathway as a therapeutic target for thyroid cancer. We examined collectively the major genetic alterations and their relationship in this pathway, including PIK3CA copy number gain and mutation, Ras mutation, and PTEN mutation, in a large series of primary thyroid tumors. Occurrence of any of these genetic alterations was found in 25 of 81 (31%) benign thyroid adenoma (BTA), 47 of 86 (55%) follicular thyroid cancer (FTC), 21 of 86 (24%) papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), and 29 of 50 (58%) anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), with FTC and ATC most frequently harboring these genetic alterations. PIK3CA copy gain was associated with increased PIK3CA protein expression. A mutual exclusivity among these genetic alterations was seen in BTA, FTC, and PTC, suggesting an independent role of each of them through the PI3K/Akt pathway in the tumorigenesis of the differentiated thyroid tumors. However, coexistence of these genetic alterations was increasingly seen with progression from differentiated tumor to undifferentiated ATC. Their coexistence with BRAF mutation was also frequent in PTC and ATC. The data provide strong genetic implication that aberrant activation of PI3K/Akt pathway plays an extensive role in thyroid tumorigenesis, particularly in FTC and ATC, and promotes progression of BTA to FTC and to ATC as the genetic alterations of this pathway accumulate. Progression of PTC to ATC may be facilitated by coexistence of PI3K/Akt pathway-related genetic alterations and BRAF mutation. The PI3K/Akt pathway may thus be a major therapeutic target in thyroid cancers.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                PAT
                Pathobiology
                10.1159/issn.1015-2008
                Pathobiology
                S. Karger AG
                978-3-318-06134-5
                978-3-318-06135-2
                1015-2008
                1423-0291
                2018
                May 2018
                06 February 2018
                : 85
                : 1-2
                : 117-129
                Affiliations
                aTumor Pathology Department, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute – Oncology Center, Gliwice Branch, Gliwice, Poland
                bDepartment of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute – Oncology Center, Gliwice Branch, Gliwice, Poland
                c3rd Department of Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy, Breast Unit, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute – Oncology Center, Gliwice Branch, Gliwice, Poland
                dDepartment of Oncological and Reconstructive Surgery, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute – Oncology Center, Gliwice Branch, Gliwice, Poland
                Author notes
                *Ewa Chmielik, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute – Oncology Center, Gliwice Branch, Wybrzeze Armii Krajowej 15, PL–44-101 Gliwice (Poland), E-Mail ewachmielik@gmail.com
                Article
                486422 Pathobiology 2018;85:117–129
                10.1159/000486422
                29408820
                © 2018 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, Pages: 13
                Product
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/486422
                Categories
                Tumour Heterogeneity

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