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
Tommaso Porcelli, Raffaele Ambrosio, Maria Angela De Stefano, Cristina Luongo, Daniela Terracciano, Caterina Miro, Monica Dentice, Martin Schlumberger, and Domenico Salvatore
Treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has been associated with alterations in circulating thyroid hormone levels, possibly related to perturbations in peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism. In this study, we evaluated the effect of the multi-kinase inhibitor vandetanib on the expression of the three deiodinase selenoenzymes, responsible for the thyroid hormone activation (type 1 and type 2 deiodinases) or for its inactivation (type 3 deiodinase). Here, we show that the multi-kinase inhibitor vandetanib determines a strong cell-specific downregulation of type 2 deiodinase (D2) expression and a significant reduction in D2 enzymatic activity. This occurs in the diffused population of fibro/adipogenic progenitors, which reside in different tissues – including the muscles – and normally express D2. Given the widespread diffusion of mesenchymal cells within the body, our results may explain at least partially the alterations in thyroid hormone levels that occur in vandetanib-treated patients. Our findings represent a step forward into the understanding of the mechanisms by which TKIs induce hypothyroidism and identify a resident cell population in which such an effect takes place.
Paola Romeo, Carla Colombo, Roberta Granata, Giuseppina Calareso, Ambra Vittoria Gualeni, Matteo Dugo, Loris De Cecco, Maria Grazia Rizzetti, Angela Zanframundo, Antonella Aiello, Maria Luisa Carcangiu, Annunziata Gloghini, Stefano Ferrero, Lisa Licitra, Angela Greco, Laura Fugazzola, Laura Deborah Locati, and Maria Grazia Borrello
This study aimed to identify circulating miRNAs as novel non-invasive biomarkers for prognosis and vandetanib response in advanced medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) patients. We prospectively recruited two independent cohorts of locally advanced/metastatic MTC patients including a subgroup of vandetanib-treated subjects: a discovery cohort (n = 20), including matched plasma/tissue samples (n = 17/20), and a validation cohort, yielding only plasma samples (n = 17). Plasma samples from healthy subjects (n = 36) and MTC patients in remission (n = 9) were used as controls. MTC (n = 17 from 8 patients included in discovery cohort) and non-neoplastic thyroid specimens (n = 3) were assessed by microarray profiling to identify candidate circulating miRNAs. qRT-PCR and in situ hybridization were carried out to validate the expression and localization of a selected miRNA within tissues, and qRT-PCR was also performed to measure miRNA levels in plasma samples. By microarray analysis, we identified 51 miRNAs differentially expressed in MTC. The most overexpressed miR, miR-375, was highly expressed by C cells compared to other thyroid cells, and more expressed in MTC than in reactive C-cell hyperplasia. MTC patients had significantly higher miR-375 plasma levels than healthy controls (P < 0.0001) and subjects in remission (P = 0.0004) as demonstrated by qRT-PCR analysis. miR-375 plasma levels were not predictive of vandetanib response, but, notably, high levels were associated with significantly reduced overall survival (HR 10.61, P < 0.0001) and were a strong prognostic factor of poor prognosis (HR 6.24, P = 0.00025) in MTC patients. Overall, our results unveil plasma miR-375 as a promising prognostic marker for advanced MTC patients, to be validated in larger cohorts.
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.