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Am J Pathol. 2000 Aug;157(2):671-7.

Loss of p53 promotes anaplasia and local invasion in ret/PTC1-induced thyroid carcinomas.

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Department of Veterinary Biosciences and Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


Papillary thyroid carcinomas in humans are associated with the ret/PTC oncogene and, following loss of p53 function, may progress to anaplastic carcinomas. Mice with thyroid-targeted expression of ret/PTC1 developed papillary thyroid carcinomas that were minimally invasive and did not metastasize. These mice were crossed with p53-/- mice to investigate whether loss of p53 would promote anaplasia and metastasis of ret/PTC1-induced thyroid tumors. The majority of p53-/- mice died or were euthanized by 17 weeks of age due to the development of thymic lymphomas, soft tissue sarcomas, and testicular teratomas. All ret/PTC1 mice developed thyroid carcinomas, but tumors in p53-/- mice were more anaplastic, larger in diameter, more invasive, and had a higher mitotic index than tumors in p53+/+ and p53+/- mice. Thyroid tumors did not metastasize in any of the experimental p53+/+ and p53+/- mice </=28 weeks of age or p53-/- mice </= 17 weeks of age; however, an older (170-day-old) male p53-/- mouse used to maintain the colony developed anaplastic thyroid carcinoma with liver metastases. These findings demonstrate that the lack of functional p53 in ret/PTC1 mice promotes anaplasia and invasiveness of thyroid carcinomas.

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