Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Presence Of Gene Mutation Helps Guide Thyroid Cancer Treatment

Date:
September 6, 2007
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
A specific gene mutation may be useful in predicting the level of aggression of thyroid cancer and help guide treatment options and follow-up care, according to new study findings. The mutation is a genetic alteration in the BRAF oncogene, a modified gene believed to cause cancer.

A specific gene mutation may be useful in predicting the level of aggression of thyroid cancer and help guide treatment options and follow-up care, according to new study findings.

The mutation, called BRAF V600E, is a genetic alteration in the BRAF oncogene, a modified gene believed to cause cancer.

Past studies have shown that the mutation frequently occurs in the most common type of thyroid cancer, conventional papillary thyroid cancer or PTC, but this is the largest study to classify thyroid cancer by cell structure subtype and to show that the mutation is significantly associated with cancer recurrence after treatment, according to the research team.

The findings come at an important time as both the incidence of thyroid cancer and the number of patients who die from the disease is increasing in the United States. More than 33,000 new cases of thyroid cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2007, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Most patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer have small, localized PTC but may receive aggressive treatment because their risk of recurrence and death cannot be reliably predicted prior to surgery, the study authors noted.

“There is a pressing need to identify a reliable preoperative approach for stratifying patients according to risk of thyroid cancer recurrence and death,” said lead author Electron Kebebew, MD, who is an assistant professor of surgery and endocrine surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco and a research scientist with the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“This study shows that a particular mutation is a reliable indicator, and testing for the mutation may be useful for selecting initial therapy, determining the need for and extent of surgery, as well as the need for ongoing monitoring and follow-up care,” he emphasized.

In the study, the researchers examined tumor samples from 314 patients with thyroid cancer (245 with conventional PTC, 73 with follicular thyroid cancer and 29 with the follicular variant of PTC) to determine the presence of BRAF V600E and its association with factors such as tumor size, tumor stage, and patient outcome.

They found the mutation in 51 percent of patients with conventional PTC, in 1 percent of patients with follicular thyroid cancer, and in 24.1 percent of patients with follicular variant PTC.

In conventional PTC and follicular variant PTC, the mutation was significantly associated with older age, larger tumor size, and recurrent and persistent disease. These patients also showed a trend toward a higher rate of cancer formation in the lymph node due to metastasis (the transfer of tumor cells from one organ or part of the body to another organ or part) and higher stage cancer.

In patients with conventional PTC, the mutation was associated with older age, lymph node and other metastasis, and was an independent risk factor for recurrent and persistent disease. Median follow-up time of all patients in this study was six years.

Kebebew explained that identification of the mutation in patients with thyroid cancer could be very useful in a variety of ways. For example, patients with the mutation may be candidates for a more aggressive approach to surgery, such as removing the central lymph node along with the diseased thyroid, to avoid the possibility of metastasis following surgery. BRAF V600E testing could also be useful for deciding between low- or high-dose radioiodine ablation therapy.

“Advances in molecular biology techniques have improved our understanding of the genetic changes in cells that lead to the formation of cancer and have provided opportunities for identifying disease biomarkers like this mutation,” added Kebebew. “It is critical to continue the drive to discover reliable biomarkers so we can better identify, treat and cure cancer.”

The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Cancer Society Research Scholars Grant, Hellman Family Grant, the University of California Cancer Research Committee and the National Institutes of Health.

The new research is reported in the September issue of the “Annals of Surgery.” Study co-investigators were Julie Weng, BS; Juergen Bauer, MD; Gustavo Ranvier, MD; Orlo Clark, MD; Quan-Yang Duh, MD; Daniel Shibru, MD; Boris Bastian, MD, and Ann Griffin, PhD, all of UCSF.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Presence Of Gene Mutation Helps Guide Thyroid Cancer Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070905133606.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2007, September 6). Presence Of Gene Mutation Helps Guide Thyroid Cancer Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070905133606.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Presence Of Gene Mutation Helps Guide Thyroid Cancer Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070905133606.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins