Author(s): Nikiforov YE, Nikiforova MN
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Abstract Thyroid cancer is a common type of endocrine malignancy, and its incidence has been steadily increasing in many regions of the world. Initiation and progression of thyroid cancer involves multiple genetic and epigenetic alterations, of which mutations leading to the activation of the MAPK and PI3K-AKT signaling pathways are crucial. Common mutations found in thyroid cancer are point mutation of the BRAF and RAS genes as well as RET/PTC and PAX8/PPARγ chromosomal rearrangements. The mutational mechanisms seem to be linked to specific etiologic factors. Chromosomal rearrangements have a strong association with exposure to ionizing radiation and possibly with DNA fragility, whereas point mutations probably arise as a result of chemical mutagenesis. A potential role of dietary iodine excess in the generation of BRAF point mutations has also been proposed. Somatic mutations and other molecular alterations have been recognized as helpful diagnostic and prognostic markers for thyroid cancer and are beginning to be introduced into clinical practice, to offer a valuable tool for the management of patients with thyroid nodules.
This article was published in Nat Rev Endocrinol
and referenced in Advances in Molecular Diagnostics