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Min-Hee Kim, Ja Seong Bae, Dong-Jun Lim, Hyoungnam Lee, So Ra Jeon, Gyeong Sin Park and Chan Kwon Jung

The BRAF V600E mutation is the most common genetic alteration in thyroid cancer. However, its clinicopathological significance and clonal mutation frequency remain unclear. To clarify the inconsistent results, we investigated the association between the allelic frequency of BRAF V600E and the clinicopathological features of classic papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). Tumour tissues from two independent sets of patients with classic PTC were manually microdissected and analysed for the presence or absence of the BRAF mutation and the mutant allelic frequency using quantitative pyrosequencing. For external validation, the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data were analysed. The BRAF V600E mutation was found in 264 (82.2%) out of 321 classic PTCs in the training set. The presence of BRAF V600E was only associated with extrathyroidal extension and the absence of thyroiditis. In BRAF V600E-positive tumours, the mutant allelic frequency varied from 8 to 41% of the total BRAF alleles (median, 20%) and directly correlated with tumour size and the number of metastatic lymph nodes. Lymph node metastases were more frequent in PTCs with a high (≥20%) abundance of mutant alleles than in those with a low abundance of mutant alleles (P=0.010). These results were reinforced by validation dataset (n=348) analysis but were not reproduced in the TCGA dataset. In a population with prevalent BRAF mutations, quantitative analysis of the BRAF mutation could provide additional information regarding tumour behaviour, which is not reflected by qualitative analysis. Nonetheless, prospective studies are needed before the mutated allele percentage can be considered as a prognostic factor.

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Ji Won Kim, Dharmendra K. Yadav, Soo Jin Kim, Moo-Yeol Lee, Jung-Min Park, Bum Seok Kim, Mi-hyun Kim, Hyeung-geun Park and Keon Wook Kang

GV1001, a 16-amino acid fragment of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase catalytic subunit (hTERT), has been developed as an injectable formulation of cancer vaccine. Here, we revealed for the first time that GV1001 is a novel ligand for gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR). The docking prediction for GV1001 against GnRHR showed high binding affinity. Binding of GV1001 to GnRHR stimulated the Gαs-coupled cAMP signaling pathway and antagonized Gαq-coupled Ca2+ release by leuprolide acetate (LA), a GnRHR agonist. Repeated injection of GV1001 attenuated both serum testosterone level and seminal vesicle weight via desensitization of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. We then tested whether GV1001 has an inhibitory effect on tumor growth of LNCaP cells, androgen receptor–positive human prostate cancer (PCa) cells. GV1001 significantly inhibited tumor growth and induced apoptosis in LNCaP-implanted xenografts. Interestingly, mRNA expressions of matrix metalloproteinase2 and matrix metalloproteinase9 were suppressed by GV1001, but not by LA. Moreover, GV1001 significantly inhibited the proliferation and migration of PCa cells and induced apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Our findings suggest that GV1001 functions as a biased GnRHR ligand to selectively stimulate the Gαs/cAMP pathway, with anti-proliferative and anti-migratory effects on human PCa.

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Ji Won Kim, Dharmendra K Yadav, Soo Jin Kim, Moo-Yeol Lee, Jung-Min Park, Bum Seok Kim, Mi-hyun Kim, Hyeung-geun Park and Keon Wook Kang

GV1001, a 16-amino acid fragment of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase catalytic subunit (hTERT), has been developed as an injectable formulation of cancer vaccine. Here, we revealed for the first time that GV1001 is a novel ligand for gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR). The docking prediction for GV1001 against GnRHR showed high binding affinity. Binding of GV1001 to GnRHR stimulated the Gαs-coupled cAMP signaling pathway and antagonized Gαq-coupled Ca2+ release by leuprolide acetate (LA), a GnRHR agonist. Repeated injection of GV1001 attenuated both serum testosterone level and seminal vesicle weight via desensitization of hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) axis. We then tested whether GV1001 has an inhibitory effect on tumor growth of LNCaP cells, androgen receptor–positive human prostate cancer (PCa) cells. GV1001 significantly inhibited tumor growth and induced apoptosis in LNCaP-implanted xenografts. Interestingly, mRNA expressions of matrix metalloproteinase 2 and matrix metalloproteinase 9 were suppressed by GV1001, but not by LA. Moreover, GV1001 significantly inhibited the proliferation and migration of PCa cells and induced apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Our findings suggest that GV1001 functions as a biased GnRHR ligand to selectively stimulate the Gαs/cAMP pathway, with anti-proliferative and anti-migratory effects on human PCa.

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Gahee Park, Tae Hyuk Kim, Hae-Ock Lee, Jung Ah Lim, Jae-Kyung Won, Hye Sook Min, Kyu Eun Lee, Do Joon Park, Young Joo Park and Woong-Yang Park

The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene is frequently rearranged in various types of cancer and is highly responsive to targeted therapeutics. We developed a system to detect rearrangement of ALK in a large group of Korean thyroid cancer patients. We screened 474 malignant or benign thyroid tumor cases to identify ALK fusions. Expression and translocation of the ALK gene were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and digital multiplexed gene expression (DMGE) analysis in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. Four cases of rearrangement of ALK were detected by IHC, and these cases were validated with FISH on 189 samples. On the other hand, DMGE analysis using Nanostring detected three out of four IHC-positive cases. Two rearrangements of ALK were striatin (STRN)–ALK fusions, which were identified by 5′ RACE analysis. Rearrangements of ALK were found exclusively in v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B (BRAF) WT papillary carcinomas. Given the wide availability and accuracy of IHC for detecting ectopic expression of ALK in the thyroid, we suggest that IHC-based screening can be a practical method for identifying patients with ALK rearrangements in differentiated thyroid cancer.