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Eur J Endocrinol. 2013 Apr 29;168(6):795-804. doi: 10.1530/EJE-12-0960. Print 2013 Jun.

RAC1b overexpression in papillary thyroid carcinoma: a role to unravel.

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Unidade de Investigação de Patobiologia Molecular, Instituto Portuguôs de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil, E.P.E., Rua Professor Lima Basto, 1099-023 Lisboa, Portugal.



The BRAF V600E mutation is the most frequent genetic alteration in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). In colorectal cancer, BRAF V600E was described to functionally cooperate with RAC1b, a hyperactive splice variant of the small GTPase RAC1, to sustain cell survival. This interplay has never been investigated in PTCs.


We aimed to analyze the expression of RAC1b in PTC and correlate its expression with BRAF V600E mutational status, histopathological features, and clinical outcome.


Sixty-one patients and 87 samples (61 PTCs and 26 normal thyroid tissues) were included. Patients were divided into two groups based on longitudinal evolution and final outcome. RAC1b expression levels were determined by quantitative RT-PCR and western blotting.


RAC1b was expressed in thyroid and overexpressed in 46% of PTCs. Neither RAC1b overexpression nor V600E mutation correlated with histopathological features classically associated with worse prognosis. RAC1b overexpression was significantly associated with both V600E mutation (P=0.0008) and poor clinical outcome (P=0.0029). Whereas BRAF V600E alone did not associate with patient outcome (P=0.2865), the association of RAC1b overexpression with BRAF V600E was overrepresented in the group with poorer clinical outcome (P=0.0044).


Present results document, for the first time, expression of RAC1b in normal thyroid cells as well as overexpression in a subset of PTCs. Furthermore, they suggest a possible interplay between BRAF V600E and RAC1b contributing to poor clinical outcome. Future studies are needed to clarify the oncogenic potential of RAC1b in thyroid carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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