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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 Jul;81(7):2711-8.

Role of the RET proto-oncogene in sporadic hyperparathyroidism and in hyperparathyroidism of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2.

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Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Parathyroid tumors occur either sporadically or as part of inherited syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) types 2A and 2B. The development of both of these familial syndromes has been related to specific germline gain-of-function mutations predominantly in exons 10 and 11 (MEN 2A) and 16 (MEN 2B) of the RET proto-oncogene. The same mutations have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma and sporadic pheochromocytoma. The RET mutations are thought to have a transforming effect only in cells of neural crest origin such as thyroid parafollicular (C-cells) and adrenal chromaffin cells, which normally express the RET proto-oncogene. Expression of RET messenger RNA has not yet been studied in the parathyroid, however, we demonstrate in this study by a sensitive, semiquantitative RT-PCR technique and in situ hybridization, that RET is expressed in MEN 2A parathyroid tumors and in sporadic adenomas. Although DNA from a parathyroid tumor of a MEN 2A patient displayed an expected mutation, none of the previously described MEN 2A or 2B mutations were found in DNA of 34 sporadic adenomas. Our data suggest that parathyroid disease is an integral part of the MEN 2A syndrome, but that MEN 2 mutations in RET rarely play a part in the pathogenesis of sporadic parathyroid tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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