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Oncogene. 2000 Jan 20;19(3):438-43.

Preferential induction of RET/PTC1 rearrangement by X-ray irradiation.

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Department of Radiobiology, Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Hiroshima, Japan.


Ionizing radiation is a well known risk factor of thyroid cancer development, but the mechanism of radiation induced carcinogenesis is not clear. The RET/PTC oncogene, an activated form of the RET proto-oncogene, is frequently observed in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC); RET/PTC1, -2 and -3 are known to be the three major forms. High frequencies of RET/PTC rearrangements have been observed in radiation-associated PTC, such as those appearing post-Chernobyl or post-radiotherapy, but the rearrangement types differ between these two populations. We investigated whether a specific type of RET/PTC rearrangement was induced by X-rays in vivo and in vitro. In human normal thyroid tissues transplanted in scid mice, the RET/PTC1 rearrangement was predominantly detected throughout the observation period (up to 60 days) after X-ray exposure of 50 Gy. On the other hand, RET/PTC3 was detected only 7 days after X-irradiation, and no transcript of RET/PTC2 was detected. These results are supported by the results of an in vitro study. The RET/PTC1 rearrangement was preferentially induced in a dose-dependent manner by X-rays within a high dose range (10, 50 and 100 Gy) in four cell lines. On the other hand, RET/PTC3 was induced at a much lower frequency, and no induction of RET/PTC2 was observed. These results suggest that the preferential induction of the RET/PTC1 rearrangement may play an important role in the early steps of thyroid carcinogenesis induced by acute X-irradiation.

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