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Thyroid. 2012 Nov;22(11):1153-9. doi: 10.1089/thy.2011.0511. Epub 2012 Oct 10.

Rearranged anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene in adult-onset papillary thyroid cancer amongst atomic bomb survivors.

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  • 1Department of Radiobiology/Molecular Epidemiology, Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Minami-ku, Hiroshima, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We previously noted that among atomic bomb survivors (ABS), the relative frequency of cases of adult papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) with chromosomal rearrangements (mainly RET/PTC) was significantly greater in those with relatively higher radiation exposure than those with lower radiation exposure. In contrast, the frequency of PTC cases with point mutations (mainly BRAF(V600E)) was significantly lower in patients with relatively higher radiation exposure than those with lower radiation exposure. We also found that among ABS, the frequency of PTC cases with no detectable gene alterations in RET, neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor 1 (NTRK1), BRAF, or RAS was significantly higher in patients with relatively higher radiation exposure than those with lower radiation exposure. However, in ABS with PTC, the relationship between the presence of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene fused with other gene partners and radiation exposure has received little study. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the relative frequency of rearranged ALK in ABS with PTC, and with no detectable gene alterations in RET, NTRK1, BRAF, or RAS, would be greater in those having relatively higher radiation exposures.

METHODS:

The 105 subjects in the study were drawn from the Life Span Study cohort of ABS of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were diagnosed with PTC between 1956 and 1993. Seventy-nine were exposed (>0 mGy), and 26 were not exposed to A-bomb radiation. In the 25 ABS with PTC, and with no detectable gene alterations in RET, NTRK1, BRAF, or RAS, we examined archival, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded PTC specimens for rearrangement of ALK using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends (5' RACE).

RESULTS:

We found rearranged ALK in 10 of 19 radiation-exposed PTC cases, but none among 6 patients with PTC with no radiation exposure. In addition, solid/trabecular-like architecture in PTC was closely associated with ALK rearrangements, being observed in 6 of 10 PTC cases with ALK rearrangements versus 2 of 15 cases with no ALK rearrangements. The six radiation-exposed cases of PTC harboring both ALK rearrangements and solid/trabecular-like architecture were associated with higher radiation doses and younger ages at the time of the A-bombing and at diagnosis compared to the other 19 PTC with no detectable gene alterations.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings suggest that ALK rearrangements are involved in the development of radiation-induced adult-onset PTC.

PMID:
23050789
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3487115
Free PMC Article
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