Next-generation sequencing identified somatic alterations that may underlie the etiology of Chinese papillary thyroid carcinoma

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To better understand the etiology of papillary thyroid carcinoma, we did next-generation sequencing for the exomes and transcriptomes of a Chinese cohort of 28 pairs of DNA and RNA samples extracted from papillary thyroid carcinoma tumors and adjacent normal thyroid samples. The Chinese papillary thyroid carcinoma tumors harbored somatic mutations in the known driver genes, such as KRAS, TP53, BRAF, ERBB2, and MET. In addition, we identified novel papillary thyroid carcinoma candidate genes that had not been well studied before. We also identified a gene mutation signature involving SPTA1, MAP2, SYNE1, and SLIT3 that is significantly associated with survival of papillary thyroid carcinoma patients. Transcriptome analysis using the initial papillary thyroid carcinoma tumor samples and a new Chinese papillary thyroid carcinoma dataset identified six commonly upregulated oncogenic pathways in both datasets including eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2, phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase (PI3K)/serine/threonine kinase (AKT), Ephrin Receptor, Rho Family GTPase signaling, nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2 (NRF2)-mediated oxidative stress response, and remodeling of epithelial adherens junctions. Overall, we identified novel candidate genes and oncogenic pathways important to the etiology of papillary thyroid carcinoma in Chinese patients and found the association of a gene signature with the survival outcome of the thyroid cancer patients. These findings may help in moving toward the more comprehensive and effective personalized treatment of papillary thyroid carcinoma in Chinese.

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