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J Endocrinol Invest. 2009 Feb;32(2):115-8.

Occurrence of medullary thyroid carcinoma, bronchial carcinoid tumor, and papillary thyroid carcinoma in a family bearing the RET G691S polymorphism.

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Unit of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri I.R.C.C.S., ISPESL Laboratory for Endocrine Disruptors, and Chair of Endocrinology, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


RET mutations play an important role in the development of human neuroendocrine tumors. The prevalence of the RET polymorphism G691S of exon 11 is higher in patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) as compared to the general population. A weak association between RET polymorphisms and sporadic papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) has also been described. We hereby describe the association of MTC, bronchial carcinoid tumor, and PTC in a familial setting. A 75-yr-old woman developed MTC 7 yr after successful treatment of a bronchial carcinoid. Serum calcitonin was 12.9 pg/ml with a peak response to pentagastrin (151.0 pg/ml). The patient underwent total thyroidectomy and a genetic mutational analysis of the RET gene. Histological evaluation confirmed MTC with no evidence of lymph nodes involvement. After thyroidectomy serum calcitonin was <2.0 pg/ml. A germline missense mutation at codon 691 in exon 11 of the RET gene was found. The mutational analysis was extended to the patient's offspring, and her daughter was found to bear the G691S polymorphism of RET. Wild type RET gene was found in the son. The daughter, who showed a nodular goiter, autoimmune thyroiditis and normal serum calcitonin, also underwent thyroidectomy. Histologic examination of the thyroid revealed an incidental PTC. This is the first description of a bronchial carcinoid tumor occurring in association with MTC. The occurrence of apparently unrelated NET in the same subject, or within a family, should be regarded as a challenge for deeper investigations into the possible oncogenic role of this genetic alteration.

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