The three deiodinase selenoenzymes are key regulators of intracellular thyroid hormone (TH) levels. The two TH-activating deiodinases (type 1 deiodinase and type 2 deiodinase (D2)) are normally expressed in follicular thyroid cells and contribute to overall TH production. During thyroid tumorigenesis, the deiodinase expression profile changes to customize intracellular TH levels to different requirements of cancer cells. Differentiated thyroid cancers overexpress the TH-inactivating type 3 deiodinase (D3), likely to reduce the TH signaling within the tumor. Strikingly, recent evidence suggests that during the late stage of thyroid tumorigenesis, D2 expression raises and this, together with a reduction in D3 expression levels, increases TH intracellular signaling in dedifferentiated thyroid cancers. These findings call into question the different functions of TH in the various stages of thyroid cancers.
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Maria Angela De Stefano, Tommaso Porcelli, Martin Schlumberger, and Domenico Salvatore
Maria Angela De Stefano, Tommaso Porcelli, Raffaele Ambrosio, Cristina Luongo, Maddalena Raia, Martin Schlumberger, and Domenico Salvatore
Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare thyroid tumor that frequently originates from the dedifferentiation of a well-differentiated papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. Type 2 deiodinase (D2), responsible for the activation of the thyroid hormone thyroxine into tri-iodothyronine (T3), is expressed in normal thyroid cells and its expression is strongly downregulated in papillary thyroid cancer. In skin cancer, D2 has been associated with cancer progression, dedifferentiation, and epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Here, we show that D2 is highly expressed in anaplastic compared to papillary thyroid cancer cell lines and that D2-derived T3 is required for ATC cell proliferation. D2 inhibition is associated with G1 growth arrest and induction of cell senescence, together with reduced cell migration and invasive potential. Finally, we found that mutated p5372R(R248W), frequently found in ATC, is able to induce D2 expression in transfected papillary thyroid cancer cells. Our results show that the action of D2 is crucial for ATC proliferation and invasiveness, providing a potential new therapeutic target for the treatment of ATC.