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Br J Cancer. 2005 May 23;92(10):1892-8.

Somatic and germline mutation in GRIM-19, a dual function gene involved in mitochondrial metabolism and cell death, is linked to mitochondrion-rich (Hurthle cell) tumours of the thyroid.

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IPATIMUP-Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto, Rua Dr Roberto Frias s/n, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal.


Oxyphil or Hurthle cell tumours of the thyroid are characterised by their consistent excessive number of mitochondria. A recently discovered gene, GRIM-19 has been found to fulfil two roles within the cell: as a member of the interferon-beta and retinoic acid-induced pathway of cell death, and as part of the mitochondrial Complex I assembly. In addition, a gene predisposing to thyroid tumours with cell oxyphilia (TCO) has been mapped to chromosome 19p13.2 in one family. A cluster of genes involved in mitochondrial metabolism occurs in this region; one of these is GRIM-19. We have searched for GRIM-19 mutations in a series of 52 thyroid tumours. Somatic missense mutations in GRIM-19 were detected in three of 20 sporadic Hurthle cell carcinomas. A germline mutation was detected in a Hurthle cell papillary carcinoma arising in a thyroid with multiple Hurthle cell nodules. No mutations were detected in any of the 20 non-Hurthle cell carcinomas tested, nor in any of 96 blood donor samples. In one of the sporadic Hurthle cell papillary carcinomas positive for GRIM-19 mutation, we have also detected a ret/PTC-1 rearrangement. No GRIM-19 mutations were detected in any of the six cases of known familial Hurthle cell tumour tested, so that our results do not support the identification of GRIM-19 as the TCO gene. The GRIM-19 mutations we have detected are the first nuclear gene mutations specific to Hurthle cell tumours to be reported to date; we propose that such mutations can be involved in the genesis of sporadic or familial Hurthle cell tumours through the dual function of GRIM-19 in mitochondrial metabolism and cell death.

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