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Insights Into the Malignant Mechanisms of Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ping Huang, PhD, of the People’s Hospital of Hangzhou Medical College, China, and colleagues investigated the differences in regulatory networks between papillary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. The results of this integrative transcriptomics study were published in Cancer Biology & Therapy.

“Unlike papillary thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is extremely aggressive and rapidly lethal without effective therapies,” the investigators commented. “Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma–specific kinase landscapes and kinase-transcription factor regulatory networks were identified, which may provide new insights into the malignant mechanisms of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.”

The investigators analyzed three representative data sets: 32 anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, 69 papillary thyroid cancer, and 78 normal thyroid tissue samples. Using this information, they established a 560-gene anaplastic thyroid carcinoma–specific malignant signature. The analysis of overall survival suggested that CREB3L1 (P = .0024), FOSL2 (P = .02), and E2F1 (P = .00015) were unfavorable factors of prognosis. High expressions of FOXM1 (P = .000053), FOSL2 (P = .048), MYBL2 (P = .000031), AVEN (P = .0067), and E2F1 (P = .0033) seemed to be negatively associated with recurrence-free survival. According to the investigators, high expression of CAT appeared to be positively associated with both overall survival (P = .045) and recurrence-free survival (P = .026).

Compared with papillary thyroid cancer and normal thyroid samples, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and western blotting revealed the upregulation of six transcription factors in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: E2F1, FOXM1, B-Myb, AVEN, CREB3L1, and FOSL2. Expression levels of the kinases IRAK1, CSF1R, PDGFRA, BUB1B, AURKA, NEK2, TTK, MELK, CHEK1, BUB1, CDK1, PBK, NEK6, CDK6, FGFR2, EPHA4, IGF1R, NTRK2, and TRIB1 seemed to change in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma significantly.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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