Diffuse sclerosing variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma: major genetic alterations and prognostic implications

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Diffuse sclerosing variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (DSV-PTC) is an uncommon variant of PTC, and its prognostic significance remains controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the major genetic alterations of DSV-PTC and their prognostic implications.

Methods and results:

We included 37 patients with DSV-PTC who underwent thyroid surgery and had formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples. We tested for a panel of genetic alterations, including BRAFV600E, NRAS codon 61, HRAS codon 12/13/61 and KRAS codon 12/13 point mutations as well as RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3 and PAX8/PPARγ rearrangements using reverse transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). All genetic alterations found on PCR were confirmed by Sanger sequencing. Associations between the identified genetic alterations and clinicopathological characteristics were evaluated. Among 37 cases of DSV-PTC, 17 were positive for RET/PTC1 (46%), six for RET/PTC3 (16%) and nine for BRAFV600E (24%). All mutations/rearrangements were mutually exclusive. The remaining five cases had none of the above genetic alterations. DSV-PTC with RET/PTC3 rearrangement was associated with advanced-stage disease, including T4 and distant metastasis (P < 0.05). Patients with RET/PTC3 showed a higher frequency of persistent disease (P < 0.01). In contrast, DSV-PTC with RET/PTC1 was associated with a higher prevalence of disease remission (P < 0.05) and coexistent Hashimoto's thyroiditis (P < 0.01).


Taken together, RET/PTC rearrangement was the major genetic alteration seen in patients with DSV-PTC, and the RET/PTC3 rearrangement was associated with advanced stage at diagnosis and poor clinical outcome.

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