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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Sep;97(9):E1758-65. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-1269. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Modifications in the papillary thyroid cancer gene profile over the last 15 years.

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Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism and World Health Organization Collaborating Center for the Study and Treatment of Thyroid Diseases and Other Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, University of Pisa, 56124 Pisa, Italy.



Evidence for an increased prevalence of BRAF(V600E) mutations has been documented in recent decades. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of both RET/PTC rearrangements and BRAF(V600E) mutations in an Italian cohort of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) patients followed at the Endocrine Units of Pisa, Milano, and Perugia from 1996-2010.


In total, 401 PTC patients were examined and grouped according to the time of surgery: group 1, 1996-2000; group 2, 2001-2005; and group 3, 2006-2010. Patients were analyzed for clinical, pathological, and molecular features. In parallel, the molecular characteristics of 459 PTC from Sicily were studied.


The genetic profiles of the three groups were significantly different (P < 0.0001). In particular, the frequency of RET/PTC rearrangements decreased from 1996-2010, occurring in 33 of 100 (33%) of the patients in group 1, 26 of 148 (17%) in group 2, and 15 of 153 (9.8%) in group 3. The incidence of BRAF(V600E) mutations increased over the same period, from 28% in group 1 (28 of 100) to 48.9% in group 2 (73 of 148) and 58.1% in group 3 (89 of 153). A consistent increase in BRAF(V600E) prevalence was observed in the Sicilian group (P < 0.0001). Moreover, a statistically significant increase in the mean age at diagnosis and decrease in tumor size over the study period was observed.


The genetic profile of PTC changed over the last 15 yr, with a significant decrease in the prevalence of RET/PTC rearrangements and an increase in BRAF(V600E) mutations. In addition, the mean age at diagnosis increased and tumor size decreased over the study period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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