Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26370671
Link to DOI – 10.1007/s40618-015-0386-4
J Endocrinol Invest 2016 Apr; 39(4): 423-9
The role of thyroid-specific transcription factors in thyroid malignancy is still poorly understood, so we investigate thyroid-specific transcription factors gene expression both in benign and in malignant thyroid nodules, aiming to study a possible clinical utility of these molecules.We quantified TTF-1, FOXE1 and PAX8 mRNA levels, relating their expression to diagnostic and prognostic features of thyroid tumors. RNA was extracted from 4 normal thyroid tissues, 101 malignant [99 papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC) and 2 anaplastic thyroid carcinomas] and 99 benign thyroid lesion tissues [49 goiter and 50 follicular adenomas (FA)].Levels of mRNA of both FOXE1 (P < 0.0001) and PAX8 (P < 0.0001) genes, but not TTF-1 (P = 0.7056), were higher in benign than in malignant thyroid lesions. FOXE1 was able to identify malignant nodules with 75.8 % sensitivity, 76.1 % specificity, 75.8 % positive predictive value, 76.1 % negative predictive value and 75.9 % accuracy. PAX8 was able to identify malignancy with 60.6 % sensitivity, 81.1 % specificity, 76.9 % positive predictive value, 66.4 % negative predictive value and 70.6 % accuracy. Both FOXE1 and PAX8 gene expression patterns were also able to differentiate FA from the follicular variant of PTC-FVPTC. However, the investigated gene expression was neither associated with any clinical feature of tumor aggressiveness nor associated with recurrence or survival.We suggest that FOXE1 and PAX8 gene expression patterns may help to diagnose thyroid nodules, identifying malignancy and characterizing follicular-patterned thyroid lesions, but are not determinants of thyroid tumor progression.