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Tumour Biol. 2006;27(4):211-20. Epub 2006 May 2.

Molecular markers for discrimination of benign and malignant follicular thyroid tumors.

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Department of Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.



To identify molecular markers useful for the diagnostic discrimination of benign and malignant follicular thyroid tumors.


A panel of thyroid tumors was characterized with expression profiling using cDNA microarrays. A robust algorithm for gene selection was developed to identify molecular markers useful for the classification of heterogeneous tumor classes. The study included tumor tissue specimens from 10 patients with benign follicular adenomas and from 10 with malignant tumors. The malignant tumors mainly consisted of clinically relevant minimally invasive follicular carcinomas. The mRNA expression level of a candidate gene, FHL1, was evaluated in an independent series of 61 tumors.


22 gene expression markers were identified as differentially expressed. Several of the identified genes, for example DIO1, CITED1, CA12 and FN1, have previously been observed as differentially expressed in various thyroid tumors. FHL1 was significantly underexpressed in carcinomas compared to adenomas in the independent panel of tumors. The results indicate that a small number of genes can be useful to distinguish follicular adenomas from follicular carcinomas.


Our findings clearly corroborate previous studies and identify novel candidate molecular markers. These genes have the potential for molecular classification of follicular thyroid tumors and for providing improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in thyroid malignancies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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