Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) can be caused by germline mutations of the RET proto-oncogene or occurs as a sporadic form. It is well known that RET mutations affecting the cysteine-rich region of the protein (MEN2A-like mutations) are correlated with different phenotypes than those in the kinase domain (MEN2B-like mutations). Our aim was to analyse the whole-gene expression profile of MTC with regard to the type of RET gene mutation and the cancer genetic background (hereditary vs sporadic). We studied 86 MTC samples. We demonstrated that there were no distinct differences in the gene expression profiles of hereditary and sporadic MTCs. This suggests a homogeneous nature of MTC. We also noticed that the site of the RET gene mutation slightly influenced the gene expression profile of MTC. We found a significant association between the localization of RET mutations and the expression of three genes: NNAT (suggested to be a tumour suppressor gene), CDC14B (involved in cell cycle control) and NTRK3 (tyrosine receptor kinase that undergoes rearrangement in papillary thyroid cancer). This study suggests that these genes are significantly deregulated in tumours with MEN2A-like and MEN2B-like mutations; however, further investigations are necessary to demonstrate any clinical impact of these findings.
- gene expression
- thyroid cancer