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 T4 into 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.
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Maria Angela De Stefano, Tommaso Porcelli, Raffaele Ambrosio, Cristina Luongo, Maddalena Raia, 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 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 effect takes place.