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Spectroscopically Speaking: Metabolic Features of Malignant and Benign Thyroid Lesions

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Friday, April 9, 2021

A research team used proton high-resolution magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to investigate distinct as well as common metabolic features of four types of thyroid tissue: malignant lesions and benign lesions, both of which contain proliferating cells; and nontransformed tissue from the contralateral gland, representing chronic thyroiditis and colloid goiter. Published in Scientific Reports, Professor Maria Sokól, of the Maria Sklodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology in Gliwice, Poland, and colleagues, demonstrate the importance of post–nuclear magnetic resonance histopathologic evaluation of both cancer and normal tissue samples in interpreting metabolic reprogramming in thyroid lesions.

Upon examining 38 samples from malignant lesions, 32 from benign lesions, 32 from chronic thyroiditis, and 80 from colloid goiter, the investigators reported the following findings:

  • Both benign and malignant lesions, compared with both colloid goiter and chronic thyroiditis, had increased succinate, glutamine, glutathione, serine/cysteine, ascorbate, lactate, taurine, threonine, glycine, and phosphocholine/glycerophosphocholine levels.
  • Compared with both colloid goiter and chronic thyroiditis, both benign and malignant lesions had decreased lipid levels.
  • Both benign and malignant lesions, compared with colloid goiter, had elevated glutamate and choline levels and reduced levels of citrate and glucose.
  • Both benign and malignant lesions, compared with chronic thyroiditis, had increased myo-inositol levels.
  • Malignant lesions, compared with colloid goiter and chronic thyroiditis, had higher alanine and lysine levels.
  • Benign lesions, compared with colloid goiter and chronic thyroiditis, had increased scyllo-inositol.
  • Benign lesions, compared with chronic thyroiditis, had increased choline.
  • Colloid goiter, compared with chronic thyroiditis, had increased glutamate and lower citrate.

“[An] important issue, for future investigation, could be the comparison of metabolic profiles of the thyroid lesions [using this type of spectroscopy] to the matched reference spectra of the normal tissue excised both from the contralateral and ipsilateral thyroid lobes,” the investigators proposed.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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