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Open access

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 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.

Restricted access

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.

Free access

Valentina Piccini, Elena Rapizzi, Alessandra Bacca, Giuseppe Di Trapani, Raffaele Pulli, Valentino Giachè, Benedetta Zampetti, Emanuela Lucci-Cordisco, Letizia Canu, Elisa Corsini, Antongiulio Faggiano, Luca Deiana, Davide Carrara, Valeria Tantardini, Stefano Mariotti, Maria Rosaria Ambrosio, Maria Chiara Zatelli, Gabriele Parenti, Annamaria Colao, Carlo Pratesi, Giampaolo Bernini, Tonino Ercolino, and Massimo Mannelli

Head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs) are neural crest-derived tumors. In comparison with paragangliomas located in the abdomen and the chest, which are generally catecholamine secreting (sPGLs) and sympathetic in origin, HNPGLs are, in fact, parasympathetic in origin and are generally nonsecreting. Overall, 79 consecutive patients with HNPGL were examined for mutations in SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, VHL, MAX, and TMEM127 genes by PCR/sequencing. According to a detailed family history (FH) and clinical, laboratory (including metanephrines), and instrumental examinations, patients were divided into three groups: a) patients with a positive FH for HNPGL (index cases only), b) patients with a negative FH and multiple HNPGLs (synchronous or metachronous) or HNPGL associated with an sPGL, and c) patients with negative FH and single HNPGL. The ten patients in group a) proved to be SDHD mutation carriers. The 16 patients in group b) proved to be SDHD mutation carriers. Among the 53 patients in group c), ten presented with germ-line mutations (three SDHB, three SDHD, two VHL, and two SDHAF2). An sPGL was found at diagnosis or followed up in five patients (6.3%), all were SDHD mutation carriers. No SDHC, SDHA, MAX, and TMEM127 mutations were found. In SDHD mutation carriers, none of the patients affected by HNPGL associated with sPGL presented missense mutations. In conclusion, a positive FH or the presence of multiple HNPGLs is a strong predictor for germ-line mutations, which are also present in 18.8% of patients carefully classified as sporadic. The most frequently mutated gene so far is SDHD but others, including SDHB, SDHAF2, and VHL, may also be affected.