Gene Summary

Gene:NCOA4; nuclear receptor coactivator 4
Aliases: RFG, ELE1, PTC3, ARA70
Summary:This gene encodes an androgen receptor coactivator. The encoded protein interacts with the androgen receptor in a ligand-dependent manner to enhance its transcriptional activity. Chromosomal translocations between this gene and the ret tyrosine kinase gene, also located on chromosome 10, have been associated with papillary thyroid carcinoma. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been described. Pseudogenes are present on chromosomes 4, 5, 10, and 14. [provided by RefSeq, Feb 2009]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:nuclear receptor coactivator 4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Androgen Receptors
  • Translocation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors
  • Papillary Carcinoma
  • Cancer DNA
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Trans-Activators
  • FISH
  • Radiation-Induced Cancer
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Oncogenes
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • NCOA4
  • Transfection
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Carcinoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Chromosome 10
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Young Adult
  • Mutation
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Base Sequence
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Phenotype
  • Gene Fusion
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivators
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Thyroid CancerRET-PTC3 (RET-ELE1) Rearangements in Papillary Thyroid Cancer
The RET gene is frequently involved in structural rearrangements with either PCT1 (CCDC6) or PCT3 (NCOA4), resulting in chimeric fusion proteins which are characteristic of Papillary Thyroid Cancer. Detection of this may aid differential diagnosis of papillary vs. follicular thyroid cancer.
View Publications182
Prostate CancerNCOA4 and Prostate Cancer View Publications19

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: NCOA4 (cancer-related)

Paratala BS, Chung JH, Williams CB, et al.
RET rearrangements are actionable alterations in breast cancer.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):4821 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Fusions involving the oncogenic gene RET have been observed in thyroid and lung cancers. Here we report RET gene alterations, including amplification, missense mutations, known fusions, novel fusions, and rearrangements in breast cancer. Their frequency, oncogenic potential, and actionability in breast cancer are described. Two out of eight RET fusions (NCOA4-RET and a novel RASGEF1A-RET fusion) and RET amplification were functionally characterized and shown to activate RET kinase and drive signaling through MAPK and PI3K pathways. These fusions and RET amplification can induce transformation of non-tumorigenic cells, support xenograft tumor formation, and render sensitivity to RET inhibition. An index case of metastatic breast cancer progressing on HER2-targeted therapy was found to have the NCOA4-RET fusion. Subsequent treatment with the RET inhibitor cabozantinib led to a rapid clinical and radiographic response. RET alterations, identified by genomic profiling, are promising therapeutic targets and are present in a subset of breast cancers.

Zhou D, Li Z, Bai X
BRAF V600E and RET/PTC Promote the Activity of Nuclear Factor-κB, Inflammatory Mediators, and Lymph Node Metastasis in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: A Study of 50 Patients in Inner Mongolia.
Med Sci Monit. 2018; 24:6795-6808 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of the BRAF V600E gene mutation and the RET/PTC gene rearrangement in the progression of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) in 50 patients from Inner Mongolia. MATERIAL AND METHODS Clinical data, blood, and tissue samples were obtained from 50 patients with PTC and ten patients with benign thyroid adenoma. Expression of BRAF V600E, RET/PTC, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, C-X-C motif chemokine ligand (CXCL)1, CXCL2, C-C motif chemokine ligand (CCL)2, and CCL3 were measured using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunohistochemistry, and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RESULTS Of the 50 patients with PTC, 37 patients expressed the BRAF V600E gene mutation, eight patients expressed RET/PTC, and five patients showed concomitant BRAF V600E and RET/PTC. Time to recurrence for patients with PTC with BRAF V600E was significantly increased compared with patients with concomitant BRAF V600E mutation and RET/PTC rearrangement (P<0.05). Expression of BRAF V600E, RET/PTC, and concomitant expression of BRAF V600E and RET/PTC were significantly associated with patient age and lymph node metastasis (P<0.05). Serum levels of NF-κB, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, TGF-β and CCL3, and tumor tissue levels of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, TGF-β, CXCL2 and CCL2 in patients with PTC were significantly increased compared with patients with benign thyroid adenoma, before and after surgery (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS Expression of the BRAF V600E mutation and RET/PTC translocation promoted the activity of NF-κB, expression of inflammatory mediators, and lymph node metastases in patients with PTC.

Wasserman JD, Sabbaghian N, Fahiminiya S, et al.
DICER1 Mutations Are Frequent in Adolescent-Onset Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018; 103(5):2009-2015 [PubMed] Related Publications
Context: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is a common malignancy in adolescence and is molecularly and clinically distinct from adult PTC. Mutations in the DICER1 gene are associated with thyroid abnormalities, including multinodular goiter and differentiated thyroid carcinoma.
Objective: In this study, we sought to characterize the prevalence of DICER1 variants in pediatric PTC, specifically in tumors without conventional PTC oncogenic alterations.
Patients: Patients (N = 40) who underwent partial or total thyroidectomy and who were <18 years of age at the time of surgery were selected.
Design: The 40 consecutive thyroidectomy specimens (30 malignant, 10 benign) underwent genotyping for 17 PTC-associated variants, as well as full sequencing of the exons and exon-intron boundaries of DICER1.
Results: Conventional alterations were found in 12 of 30 (40%) PTCs (five BRAFV600E, three RET/PTC1, four RET/PTC3). Pathogenic DICER1 variants were identified in 3 of 30 (10%) PTCs and in 2 of 10 (20%) benign nodules, all of which lacked conventional alterations and did not recur during follow-up. DICER1 alterations thus constituted 3 of 18 (16.7%) PTCs without conventional alterations. The three DICER1-mutated carcinomas each had two somatic DICER1 alterations, whereas two follicular-nodular lesions arose in those with germline DICER1 mutations and harbored characteristic second somatic RNase IIIb "hotspot" mutations.
Conclusions: DICER1 is a driver of pediatric thyroid nodules, and DICER1-mutated PTC may represent a distinct class of low-risk malignancies. Given the prevalence of variants in children, we advocate for inclusion of DICER1 sequencing and gene dosage determination in molecular analysis of pediatric thyroid specimens.

Weinreb I, Bishop JA, Chiosea SI, et al.
Recurrent RET Gene Rearrangements in Intraductal Carcinomas of Salivary Gland.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2018; 42(4):442-452 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Intraductal carcinoma (IC) is the World Health Organization designation for lesions previously called low-grade cribriform cystadenocarcinoma. The relationship of IC to salivary duct carcinoma (SDC) is controversial, but currently these are considered distinct entities. It is hypothesized that IC and SDC should have different genomic signatures that may be identifiable by next-generation sequencing. A total of 23 ICs were identified: 14 pure IC and 9 invasive carcinomas with an intraductal component. Five invasive carcinomas were subjected to next-generation paired-end RNA sequencing. Data analysis was performed using FusionSeq and Mutation detection algorithms (MuTect and VarScan) for variant callers. Gene fusion candidates were validated by fluorescence in situ hybridization and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and mutations by Sanger sequencing. Among the 9 invasive carcinomas, all except 1 were apocrine SDCs with an intraductal component. The remaining case showed typical intercalated duct type IC with invasive adenocarcinoma. The 14 pure ICs had typical intercalated duct features (2 showed hybrid intercalated/apocrine features). RNA sequencing predicted a NCOA4-RET fusion, confirmed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, in the intercalated duct type IC invasive component. Six additional cases of pure IC showed RET rearrangement by fluorescence in situ hybridization (7/15=47%). No apocrine carcinomas showed RET rearrangement. RNA sequencing and Sanger sequencing identified PIK3CA (p.E545K/p.H1047R) and/or HRAS (p.Q61R) hotspot mutations in 6 of 8 (75%) apocrine carcinomas. In conclusion, 2 distinctive types of intraductal lesions are emerging based on molecular analysis. Classic intercalated type ICs commonly harbor fusions involving RET and rarely show widespread invasion. Apocrine intraductal lesions are typically associated with widespread invasion with no pure examples and show similar PIK3CA and HRAS mutations to SDC.

Zhou D, Li Z, Bai X
BRAFV600E and RET/PTC Promote Proliferation and Migration of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Cells In Vitro by Regulating Nuclear Factor-κB.
Med Sci Monit. 2017; 23:5321-5329 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is associated with mutations of BRAFV600E and RET/PTC and high levels of expression of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). However, few studies have focused on the association between NF-κB expression and mutations in BRAFV600E and RET/PTC, especially regarding PTC cell proliferation and migration. The aim of this in vitro study was to investigate the effect of BRAFV600E or RET/PTC on NF-κB expression, cell proliferation and cell migration in four established PTC cell lines. MATERIAL AND METHODS Four cell lines included TPC-1 (BRAFWT/WT), BCPAP (BRAFV600E/V600E), PCCL3, and PTC3-5 (RET/PTC), were grown in culture in vitro with or without suppression of NF-κB using pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), and cell proliferation, and cell migration were evaluated. RESULTS Expression of the BRAF gene was increased in the BCPAP cell line when compared with the TPC-1 cells. Expression of the RET gene was increased in the PTC3-5 cell line when compared with the PCCL3 cells. In the BCPAP and PTC3-5 cell lines, the relative expression of NF-κB protein, including phosphorylated p100/52, phosphorylated p65, phosphorylated IKKa/b, phosphorylated IκBα, and p65 nuclear translocation were increased compared with the TPC-1 and PCCL3 cells. Proliferation and migration of BCPAP and PTC3-5 cells were increased compared with the TPC-1 and PCCL3 cells. Suppression of NF-κB reduced NF-κB protein expression and inhibited the proliferation of cells in the TPC-1, BCPAP, PCCL3 and PTC3-5 cell lines, and migration of the BCPAP and PTC3-5 cells. CONCLUSIONS BRAFV600E and RET/PTC and the expression of NF-κB promote the proliferation and migration of papillary thyroid carcinoma cells in vitro.

Skálová A, Stenman G, Simpson RHW, et al.
The Role of Molecular Testing in the Differential Diagnosis of Salivary Gland Carcinomas.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2018; 42(2):e11-e27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Salivary gland neoplasms are a morphologically heterogenous group of lesions that are often diagnostically challenging. In recent years, considerable progress in salivary gland taxonomy has been reached by the discovery of tumor type-specific fusion oncogenes generated by chromosome translocations. This review describes the clinicopathologic features of a selected group of salivary gland carcinomas with a focus on their distinctive genomic characteristics. Mammary analog secretory carcinoma is a recently described entity characterized by a t(12;15)(p13;q25) translocation resulting in an ETV6-NTRK3 fusion. Hyalinizing clear cell carcinoma is a low-grade tumor with infrequent nodal and distant metastasis, recently shown to harbor an EWSR1-ATF1 gene fusion. The CRTC1-MAML2 fusion gene resulting from a t(11;19)(q21;p13) translocation, is now known to be a feature of both low-grade and high-grade mucoepidermoid carcinomas associated with improved survival. A t(6;9)(q22-23;p23-34) translocation resulting in a MYB-NFIB gene fusion has been identified in the majority of adenoid cystic carcinomas. Polymorphous (low-grade) adenocarcinoma and cribriform adenocarcinoma of (minor) salivary gland origin are related entities with partly differing clinicopathologic and genomic profiles; they are the subject of an ongoing taxonomic debate. Polymorphous (low-grade) adenocarcinomas are characterized by hot spot point E710D mutations in the PRKD1 gene, whereas cribriform adenocarcinoma of (minor) salivary glands origin are characterized by translocations involving the PRKD1-3 genes. Salivary duct carcinoma (SDC) is a high-grade adenocarcinoma with morphologic and molecular features akin to invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast, including HER2 gene amplification, mutations of TP53, PIK3CA, and HRAS and loss or mutation of PTEN. Notably, a recurrent NCOA4-RET fusion has also been found in SDC. A subset of SDC with apocrine morphology is associated with overexpression of androgen receptors. As these genetic aberrations are recurrent they serve as powerful diagnostic tools in salivary gland tumor diagnosis, and therefore also in refinement of salivary gland cancer classification. Moreover, they are promising as prognostic biomarkers and targets of therapy.

Buffet C, Hecale-Perlemoine K, Bricaire L, et al.
DUSP5 and DUSP6, two ERK specific phosphatases, are markers of a higher MAPK signaling activation in BRAF mutated thyroid cancers.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(9):e0184861 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular alterations of the MAPK pathway are frequently observed in papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs). It leads to a constitutive activation of the signalling pathway through an increase in MEK and ERK phosphorylation. ERK is negatively feedback-regulated by Dual Specificity Phosphatases (DUSPs), especially two ERK-specific DUSPs, DUSP5 (nuclear) and DUSP6 (cytosolic). These negative MAPK regulators may play a role in thyroid carcinogenesis.
METHODS: MAPK pathway activation was analyzed in 11 human thyroid cancer cell lines. Both phosphatases were studied in three PCCL3 rat thyroid cell lines that express doxycycline inducible PTC oncogenes (RET/PTC3, H-RASV12 or BRAFV600E). Expression levels of DUSP5 and DUSP6 were quantified in 39 human PTCs. The functional role of DUSP5 and DUSP6 was investigated through their silencing in two human BRAFV600E carcinoma cell lines.
RESULTS: BRAFV600E human thyroid cancer cell lines expressed higher phospho-MEK levels but not higher phospho-ERK levels. DUSP5 and DUSP6 are specifically induced by the MEK-ERK pathway in the three PTC oncogenes inducible thyroid cell lines. This negative feedback loop explains the tight regulation of p-ERK levels. DUSP5 and DUSP6 mRNA are overexpressed in human PTCs, especially in BRAFV600E mutated PTCs. DUSP5 and/or DUSP6 siRNA inactivation did not affect proliferation in two BRAFV600E mutated cell lines, which may be explained by a compensatory increase in other phosphatases. In the light of this, we observed a marked DUSP6 upregulation upon DUSP5 inactivation. Despite this, DUSP5 and DUSP6 positively control cell migration and invasion.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results are in favor of a stronger activation of the MAPK pathway in BRAFV600E PTCs. DUSP5 and DUSP6 have pro-tumorigenic properties in two BRAFV600E PTC cell line models.

Vuttariello E, Borra M, Mauriello E, et al.
Multiplex PCR approach to simultaneously identify several mutations in fine needle cytology thyroid samples.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(30):49351-49358 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The most frequent initial manifestation of thyroid cancer is the appearance of a nodule. More than 20% of the general population has a palpable thyroid nodule and the percentage rises to 70% based on ultrasound identification. In 95% of cases the nodule is simply a hyperplastic or benign lesion. The most reliable diagnostic test for thyroid nodules is fine needle aspiration (FNA), but cytological discrimination between malignant and benign follicular neoplasms remains difficult. Cytological analysis is now, almost routinely, being combined with molecular genetics to enable the pathologist to make a more objective diagnosis. In this study, we performed the molecular analysis using a new simplified procedure that involves a panel of BRAF, RAS, RET and RET/PTC gene mutations in easily obtainable FNA samples, in the attempt to improve the efficacy of the FNA diagnosis of thyroid nodules and thus patient management. In this new procedure, PCR and sequencing analysis are used to detect point mutations, and, in parallel, RT-PCR is used to detect the chimeric RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3 transcripts in RNA extracted from FNA.

Iyama K, Matsuse M, Mitsutake N, et al.
Identification of Three Novel Fusion Oncogenes, SQSTM1/NTRK3, AFAP1L2/RET, and PPFIBP2/RET, in Thyroid Cancers of Young Patients in Fukushima.
Thyroid. 2017; 27(6):811-818 [PubMed] Related Publications
METHODS: Among 63 postoperative specimens of childhood and adolescent PTCs, which had been discovered by the thyroid ultrasound screening program in Fukushima, nine samples without prevalent known oncogenes, BRAF
RESULTS: Of the above nine samples, five samples were suspected to harbor a fusion, and using subsequent 5' rapid amplification of cDNA end (RACE), two already reported fusion oncogenes, STRN/ALK and TPR/NTRK1, and three novel fusions, SQSTM1/NTRK3, AFAP1L2/RET, and PPFIBP2/RET, were identified. Functional analyses of these three chimeric genes were performed, and their transforming abilities were confirmed through the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK).
CONCLUSIONS: Three novel fusion oncogenes have been identified in young PTC patients in Fukushima, suggesting that rare fusions may be present among the cases negative for known oncogenes in this age group and that such rearrangements can play a significant role in thyroid carcinogenesis.

Li GG, Somwar R, Joseph J, et al.
Antitumor Activity of RXDX-105 in Multiple Cancer Types with
Clin Cancer Res. 2017; 23(12):2981-2990 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications

Cameselle-Teijeiro JM, Rodríguez-Pérez I, Celestino R, et al.
Hobnail Variant of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: Clinicopathologic and Molecular Evidence of Progression to Undifferentiated Carcinoma in 2 Cases.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2017; 41(6):854-860 [PubMed] Related Publications
The hobnail variant (HV) of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is an unusual entity recently proposed as an aggressive variant of PTC. We describe the pathologic and molecular features of 2 cases of HV of PTC. Both tumors presented in stage III (pT3 pN1a M0). The first case was diagnosed in a 62-year-old man, whereas the second was in a 53-year-old woman. Both patients were treated with total thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine. The primary tumors showed a hobnail/micropapillary pattern in ≥50% of the neoplasm, and positivity for TTF-1, TTF-2, thyroglobulin (TG), cyclin D1, and p53. The Ki-67 index was 4.6% and 5%, respectively. In case 1, the tumor disclosed BRAFV600E and TERT C228T (124:G>A) promoter gene mutation, negativity for NRAS, HRAS, and KRAS mutations, and negativity for RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3, and PAX8/PPARγ rearrangements. After 11 years the patient died with cervical lymph node, bone, and liver metastases. In the liver metastasis, the tumor displayed columnar cell PTC areas (positive for TTF-1, TG, and BRAFV600E) merging with undifferentiated carcinoma (UC) areas (positive for TTF-1 and BRAFV600E; negative for TG). In case 2, the patient died 6 years after treatment with local recurrence and disseminated metastases to the lung, pleura, bone, and liver. The tumor recurrence showed a UC component (positive for cyclin D1 and p53; negative for TTF-1 and TG) with a residual HV of PTC (positive for cyclin D1, p53, TTF-1, and TG). No BRAF, TERT, NRAS, HRAS, nor KRAS mutations were detected in the primary tumor or recurrence in case 2. Our findings suggest that p53-positive HV is a very aggressive form of PTC prone to progression to UC.

Zhang YY, Liu ZB, Ye XG, Ren WM
Iodine regulates G2/M progression induced by CCL21/CCR7 interaction in primary cultures of papillary thyroid cancer cells with RET/PTC expression.
Mol Med Rep. 2016; 14(4):3941-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Treatment with high iodine concentrations can delay oncogenic activation effects, reduce cell growth and return thyroid-specific gene and protein expression levels to normal. During rearranged during transfection (RET)/papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) 3 activation, excess iodine can act as a protective agent in thyroid follicular cells. The chemokine receptor CCR7 serves a critical role in lymphocyte trafficking into and within lymph nodes, the preferential metastatic site for PTC. However, the potential associations between chemokine (C‑C motif) ligand 21 (CCL21)/C‑C chemokine receptor type 7 (CCR7) interaction and iodine concentrations in primary cultures of PTC with RET/PTC expression remain unclear. Proliferation assays of primary cultures of PTC cells with RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3 expression indicated that CCR7 activation by its specific ligand, CCL21, was associated with significantly increased cell proliferation. Flow cytometry data indicated that CCL21/CCR7 interaction significantly increased the fraction of cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. Western blotting indicated that CCL21/CCR7 interaction significantly upregulated cyclin A, cyclin B1 and cyclin‑dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) expression. Western blotting determined that CCL21/CCR7 interaction significantly enhanced the levels of phosphorylated extracellular signal‑regulated kinase (P‑ERK). Co-immunoprecipitation confirmed that there was interaction between P‑ERK and cyclin A, cyclin B1 or CDK1, particularly in the presence of CCL21. Sodium iodide (NaI, 10-5 M) significantly abolished the effects of exogenous CCL21. These results suggest that CCL21/CCR7 interaction contributes to G2/M progression of RET/PTC‑expressing cells via the ERK pathway in association with 10‑5 M NaI.

Wang K, Russell JS, McDermott JD, et al.
Profiling of 149 Salivary Duct Carcinomas, Carcinoma Ex Pleomorphic Adenomas, and Adenocarcinomas, Not Otherwise Specified Reveals Actionable Genomic Alterations.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(24):6061-6068 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We sought to identify genomic alterations (GA) in salivary gland adenocarcinomas, not otherwise specified (NOS), salivary duct carcinomas (SDC), carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma (ca ex PA), and salivary carcinoma, NOS.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: DNA was extracted from 149 tumors. Comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) was performed on hybridization-captured adaptor ligation-based libraries of 182 or 315 cancer-related genes plus introns from 14 or 28 genes frequently rearranged for cancer and evaluated for all classes of GAs.
RESULTS: A total of 590 GAs were found in 157 unique genes (mean 3.9/tumor). GAs in the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway were more common in SDC (53.6%) than other histologies (P = 0.019) Cyclin-dependent kinase GAs varied among all histotypes: adenocarcinoma, NOS (34.6%); SDC (12.2%); ca ex PA (16.7%); carcinoma, NOS (31.2%; P = 0.043). RAS GAs were observed: adenocarcinoma, NOS (17.3%); SDC (26.8%); ca ex PA (4.2%); and carcinoma, NOS (9.4%; P = 0.054). ERBB2 GAs, including amplifications and mutations, were common: adenocarcinoma, NOS (13.5%); SDC (26.8%); ca ex PA (29.2%); carcinoma, NOS (18.8; P = 0.249). Other notable GAs include TP53 in >45% of each histotype; NOTCH1: adenocarcinoma, NOS (7.7%), ca ex PA (8.3%), carcinoma, NOS (21.6%); NF1: adenocarcinoma, NOS (9.6%), SDC (17.1%), carcinoma, NOS (18.8%). RET fusions were identified in one adenocarcinoma, NOS (CCDC6-RET) and two SDCs (NCOA4-RET). Clinical responses were observed in patients treated with anti-HER2 and anti-RET-targeted therapies.
CONCLUSIONS: CGP of salivary adenocarcinoma, NOS, SDCs, ca ex PA, and carcinoma, NOS revealed diverse GAs that may lead to novel treatment options. Clin Cancer Res; 22(24); 6061-8. ©2016 AACR.

Vuong HG, Kondo T, Oishi N, et al.
Genetic alterations of differentiated thyroid carcinoma in iodine-rich and iodine-deficient countries.
Cancer Med. 2016; 5(8):1883-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BRAF V600E mutation, RET rearrangements, and RAS mutations are the common genetic alterations in differentiated thyroid carcinomas derived from follicular thyroid cells. However, the relationship between these alterations and iodine intake is still controversial. To clarify the influence of iodine intake on the occurrence of differentiated thyroid carcinomas, we performed molecular analyses for two differentiated carcinomas, papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs) and follicular thyroid carcinomas (FTCs), from an iodine-rich country (Japan) and an iodine-deficient country (Vietnam). We examined 120 PTCs (67 Japanese and 53 Vietnamese) and 74 FTCs (51 Japanese and 23 Vietnamese). We carried out allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (AS-PCR) for BRAF V600E, PCR and direct sequencing for RAS mutations (codon 12, 13, and 61 in NRAS, HRAS, and KRAS), and RT-PCR for RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3. BRAF V600E was present in 55/67 (82.1%) Japanese PTCs and 44/53 (83%) Vietnamese PTCs. RET/PTC1 was identified in only one PTC from each country, and no samples had RET/PTC3. NRAS mutation was found in 17/51 (33.3%) Japanese FTCs and 4/23 (17.4%) Vietnamese FTCs. NRAS mutation was cited in codon 61 (20 cases) and codon 12 (one case). None of FTCs had KRAS or HRAS mutations. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of BRAF V600E, RET/PTC, or RAS mutations between the two countries. Our study showed no differences in genetic alterations of thyroid cancers from iodine-rich and iodine-deficient countries, possibly suggesting that iodine intake might not affect the genetic alterations of differentiated thyroid cancer.

Bongiovanni M, Uccella S, Giovanella L, et al.
Hürthle Cells Adenoma of the Thyroid with Post-surgical Implants in the Neck: Clinical, Morphological, and Molecular Analysis of Three Cases.
Endocr Pathol. 2016; 27(4):338-345 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thyroid implants in the soft tissue of the neck are very rare findings of traumatic, iatrogenic, or neoplastic origins. We describe the clinico-pathological and molecular analysis of three cases with an initial diagnosis of follicular adenoma, Hürthle cell variant (FA-HCT), which developed cervical thyroid implants at 60, 59, and 36 months after thyroid surgery, followed by further neck recurrences, and, eventually, by distant metastases. A systematic review of all histopathological samples of both the primary lesions and the neck implants was performed. Molecular study included the analysis of pan-RAS and BRAF mutations and RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3, and PAX8/PPARγ rearrangements. The review of the original slides and of additional re-cuts of each block of the thyroid lesions did not show any sign of capsular and/or vascular invasion; thus, the original diagnoses of FA-HCT were confirmed. When sampling adequacy was considered, it turned out that the capsule was completely evaluable in case #3, whereas 85 % was evaluable for case #1 and less than 50 % for case #2. We cannot exclude that cases #1 and #2 were carcinomas that had not been completely sampled. The first occurring neck implants showed neither histological signs of malignancy nor the presence of lymphoid tissue. However, further neck recurrences had different histological aspects, with a clear infiltrative growth. Moreover, a mesenchymal reaction forming a sort of capsule was observed around oncocytic cells along with signs of vascular invasion. Molecular analysis revealed no alterations in the genes and rearrangements studied. Oncocytic thyroid implants in the neck soft tissue should be regarded as metastasis, even in the absence of clear-cut signs of malignancy and in the case of a bona fide diagnosis of Hürthle cells adenoma of the thyroid.

Sjöblom L, Saramäki O, Annala M, et al.
Microseminoprotein-Beta Expression in Different Stages of Prostate Cancer.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0150241 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Microseminoprotein-beta (MSMB, MSMB) is an abundant secretory protein contributed by the prostate, and is implicated as a prostate cancer (PC) biomarker based on observations of its lower expression in cancerous cells compared with benign prostate epithelium. However, as the current literature on MSMB is inconsistent, we assessed the expression of MSMB at the protein and mRNA levels in a comprehensive set of different clinical stages of PC. Immunohistochemistry using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against MSMB was used to study protein expression in tissue specimens representing prostatectomies (n = 261) and in diagnostic needle biopsies from patients treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) (n = 100), and in locally recurrent castration-resistant PC (CRPC) (n = 105) and CRPC metastases (n = 113). The transcript levels of MSMB, nuclear receptor co-activator 4 (NCOA4) and MSMB-NCOA4 fusion were examined by qRT-PCR in prostatectomy samples and by RNA-sequencing in benign prostatic hyperplasia, PC, and CRPC samples. We also measured serum MSMB levels and genotyped the single nucleotide polymorphism rs10993994 using DNA from the blood of 369 PC patients and 903 controls. MSMB expression in PC (29% of prostatectomies and 21% of needle biopsies) was more frequent than in CRPC (9% of locally recurrent CRPCs and 9% of CRPC metastases) (p<0.0001). Detection of MSMB protein was inversely correlated with the Gleason score in prostatectomy specimens (p = 0.024). The read-through MSMB-NCOA4 transcript was detected at very low levels in PC. MSMB levels in serum were similar in cases of PC and controls but were significantly associated with PC risk when adjusted for age at diagnosis and levels of free or total PSA (p<0.001). Serum levels of MSMB in both PC patients and controls were significantly associated with the rs10993994 genotype (p<0.0001). In conclusion, decreased expression of MSMB parallels the clinical progression of PC and adjusted serum MSMB levels are associated with PC risk.

Su X, Li Z, He C, et al.
Radiation exposure, young age, and female gender are associated with high prevalence of RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3 in papillary thyroid cancer: a meta-analysis.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(13):16716-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: RET/PTC rearrangements have been identified as a specific genetic event in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). We conducted this meta-analysis to identify an enriched population who were more likely to occur RET/PTC fusion genes.
METHODS: All relevant studies in the PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase databases were searched up to June 2015. The studies found were screened according to our inclusion and exclusion criteria. All analyses were performed using STATA software.
RESULTS: Eventually, 38 eligible studies comprising 2395 participants were included. Overall analysis indicated that radiation exposure contributed to increased RET/PTC risk (OR = 2.82; 95%CI: 1.38-5.78, P = 0.005). Stratified analysis according to RET/PTC subtype and geographical area showed that this association was restricted to the RET/PTC3 subtype (OR = 8.30, 95%CI: 4.32-15.96, P < 0.001) in the Western population. In addition, age < 18 years, i.e., young age, was associated with higher prevalence of RET/PTC3 (OR = 2.03, 95%CI: 1.14-3.62, P = 0.017), especially in the radiation-exposure subpopulation (OR = 2.35, 95%CI: 1.01-5.49, P = 0.048). The association between female gender and RET/PTC1 risk was more significant in the PTC patients without radiation exposure (OR = 1.69, 95%CI: 1.04-2.74, P = 0.034).
CONCLUSION: Both radiation exposure and young age are associated with increased risk of RET/PTC3 and that female gender is associated with higher prevalence of RET/PTC1 in the subpopulation without radiation exposure. The RET/PTC status in combination with radiation exposure, age, and sex should be considered in the differential diagnosis of suspicious PTC.

Gertz RJ, Nikiforov Y, Rehrauer W, et al.
Mutation in BRAF and Other Members of the MAPK Pathway in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma in the Pediatric Population.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2016; 140(2):134-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is an uncommon tumor in the pediatric population. A limited number of studies have examined genetic mutations affecting the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in the pediatric population.
OBJECTIVE: To examine mutations affecting this pathway in PTC in our pediatric population and compare the BRAF V600E mutation rates in pediatric and adult tumors.
DESIGN: Eighty-four patients, including 14 pediatric and 70 adult, with PTC were tested for the BRAF V600E mutation by using real-time polymerase chain reaction and sequencing. Additionally, we examined the rate of RAS point mutations with real-time polymerase chain reaction and rearrangements of RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3 in the pediatric group with fluorescence in situ hybridization. Clinical and histologic data were compared as well.
RESULTS: Of 77 tumors that had an interpretable result, the BRAF V600E mutant was identified in 4 of 13 pediatric patients (31%) and 43 of 64 adult patients (67%), which was a significant difference (using Fisher exact test, P = .03). One pediatric and 6 adult cases did not reveal an interpretable result with melting curve analysis. One of these cases harbored a rare 3-base pair deletion mutation (c.1799_1801delTGA). Mutations in RAS genes were not seen in any pediatric tumors. One tumor with a RET/PTC1 rearrangement and another with RET/PTC3 were identified in the pediatric population (15%).
CONCLUSIONS: The rate of the BRAF V600E mutation in the pediatric population is significantly lower than that seen in the adult population. Mutations in RAS do not contribute significantly to pediatric PTC. This experience from our institution adds to the growing body of knowledge regarding tumor genetics in pediatric PTC.

Song HN, Lee C, Kim ST, et al.
Molecular characterization of colorectal cancer patients and concomitant patient-derived tumor cell establishment.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(15):19610-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We aimed to establish a prospectively enrolled colorectal cancer (CRC) cohort for targeted sequencing of primary tumors from CRC patients. In parallel, we established collateral PDC models from the matched primary tumor tissues, which may be later used as preclinical models for genome-directed targeted therapy experiments.
RESULTS: In all, we identified 27 SNVs in the 6 genes such as PIK3CA (N = 16), BRAF (N = 6), NRAS (N = 2), and CTNNB1 (N = 1), PTEN (N = 1), and ERBB2 (N = 1). RET-NCOA4 translocation was observed in one out of 105 patients (0.9%). PDC models were successfully established from 62 (55.4%) of the 112 samples. To confirm the genomic features of various tumor cells, we compared variant allele frequency results of the primary tumor and progeny PDCs. The Pearson correlation coefficient between the variants from primary tumor cells and PDCs was 0.881.
METHODS: Between April 2014 and June 2015, 112 patients with CRC who underwent resection of the primary tumor were enrolled in the SMC Oncology Biomarker study. The PDC culture protocol was performed for all eligible patients. All of the primary tumors from the 112 patients who provided written informed consent were genomically sequenced with targeted sequencing. In parallel, PDC establishment was attempted for all sequenced tumors.
CONCLUSIONS: We have prospectively sequenced a CRC cohort of 105 patients and successfully established 62 PDC in parallel. Each genomically characterized PDCs can be used as a preclinical model especially in rare genomic alteration event.

Shi K, Xu D, Yang C, et al.
Contactin 1 as a potential biomarker promotes cell proliferation and invasion in thyroid cancer.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(10):12473-81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Contactin 1 (CNTN1) as a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily plays important role in the development of nervous system. Recent studies find that elevated CNTN1 can promote the metastasis of cancer. However, the expression and function of CNTN1 in thyroid cancer are still unknown. Here, we firstly find CNTN1 is a new gene which can be regulated by RET/PTC3 (Ret proto-oncogene and Ret-activating protein ELE1) rearrangement gene and the protein level of CNTN1 is increasing in thyroid cancer. Besides this change is positively associated with the TNM stage and tumor size. Moreover, we confirm that knockdown of CNTN1 significantly inhibits the tumor proliferation, invasiveness and represses the expression of cyclin D1 (CCND1). In conclusion, CNTN1 will be a potential diagnosis biomarker and therapy target for thyroid cancer.

Hechtman JF, Zehir A, Yaeger R, et al.
Identification of Targetable Kinase Alterations in Patients with Colorectal Carcinoma That are Preferentially Associated with Wild-Type RAS/RAF.
Mol Cancer Res. 2016; 14(3):296-301 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Targeted therapy for metastatic colorectal carcinoma consists of anti-EGFR therapy for patients with RAS/RAF wild-type tumors. However, the response rate remains low, suggesting the presence of alternative drivers possibly also representing potential therapeutic targets. We investigated receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) alterations and MAP2K1 (MEK1) mutations in a large cohort of colorectal carcinoma patients studied by Memorial Sloan Kettering-Integrated Mutation Profiling of Actionable Cancer Targets and The Cancer Genome Atlas, focusing on amplifications, fusions, and hotspot mutations in RTK genes and MAP2K1. RTK gene amplifications were confirmed with FISH and immunohistochemical (IHC) staining. Among 751 colorectal carcinoma cases with next-generation sequencing data, 7% and 1% of colorectal carcinoma harbored RTK alterations and MAP2K1 hotspot mutations (n = 7), respectively. RTK-altered cases had fewer concurrent RAS/RAF mutations (P = 0.003) than RTK/MAP2K1 wild-type colorectal carcinoma. MAP2K1-mutated colorectal carcinoma showed no RAS/RAF mutations. ERBB2 (n = 32) and EGFR (n = 13) were the most frequently altered RTKs, both activated by amplification and/or hotspot mutations. Three RTK fusions were identified: NCOA4-RET, ERBB2-GRB7, and ETV6-NTRK3. Only 1 of 6 patients with an RTK or MAP2K1 alteration who received anti-EGFR and/or anti-ERBB2 therapy demonstrated stable disease; the rest progressed immediately. Overall, RTK alterations and MAP2K1 mutations occur in approximately 8% of colorectal carcinoma. In spite of the usual absence of RAS/RAF mutations, response to anti-EGFR and/or anti-ERBB2 therapy was poor in this limited group. Larger studies are warranted to further define these kinase alterations as novel therapeutic targets in colorectal carcinoma and as negative predictors of response to anti-EGFR therapy.
IMPLICATIONS: Targetable kinase alterations were identified in a subset of advanced colorectal carcinoma patients, preferentially associated with wild-type RAS/RAF, and may predict poor response to standard anti-EGFR therapy.

Mitsutake N, Fukushima T, Matsuse M, et al.
BRAF(V600E) mutation is highly prevalent in thyroid carcinomas in the young population in Fukushima: a different oncogenic profile from Chernobyl.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16976 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the thyroid ultrasound screening program for children aged 0-18 at the time of the accident was started from October 2011. The prevalence of thyroid carcinomas in that population has appeared to be very high (84 cases per 296,253). To clarify the pathogenesis, we investigated the presence of driver mutations in these tumours. 61 classic papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs), two follicular variant PTCs, four cribriform-morular variant PTCs and one poorly-differentiated thyroid carcinoma were analysed. We detected BRAF(V600E) in 43 cases (63.2%), RET/PTC1 in six (8.8%), RET/PTC3 in one (1.5%) and ETV6/NTRK3 in four (5.9%). Among classic and follicular variant PTCs, BRAF(V600E) was significantly associated with the smaller size. The genetic pattern was completely different from post-Chernobyl PTCs, suggesting non-radiogenic etiology of these cancers. This is the first study demonstrating the oncogene profile in the thyroid cancers discovered by large mass screening, which probably reflects genetic status of all sporadic and latent tumours in the young Japanese population. It is assumed that BRAF(V600E) may not confer growth advantage on paediatric PTCs, and many of these cases grow slowly, suggesting that additional factors may be important for tumour progression in paediatric PTCs.

Aydin K, Aydin C, Dagdelen S, et al.
Genetic Alterations in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Patients with Acromegaly.
Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2016; 124(3):198-202 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Acromegaly is associated with increased thyroid cancer risk. We aimed to analyze the frequency of point mutations of BRAF and RAS genes, and RET/PTC, PAX8/PPARγ gene rearrangements in patients with acromegaly having differentiated thyroid cancers (DTC) and their relation with clinical and histological features.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: 14 acromegalic patients (8 male, 6 female) with DTC were included. BRAF V600E and NRAS codon 61 point mutations, RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3, and PAX8/PPARγ gene rearrangements were analyzed in thyroidectomy specimens. We selected 14 non-acromegalic patients with DTC as a control group.
RESULTS: 2 patients (14.3%) were detected to have positive BRAF V600E and 3 patients (21.4%) were detected to have NRAS codon 61 mutation. NRAS codon 61 was the most frequent genetic alteration. Patients with positive mutation had aggressive histologic features more frequently than patients without mutations. Comparison of the acromegalic and non-acromegalic patients with DTC revealed that BRAF V600E mutation was more frequent in non-acromegalic patients with DTC (14.2% vs. 64.3%, p=0.02). RET/PTC 1/ 3, PAX8/PPARγ gene rearrangements were not detected in any patient. None of the patients including the patients with positive point mutations had recurrence, and local and/or distant metastasis.
CONCLUSION: NRAS codon 61 is the most frequent genetic alteration in this acromegaly series with DTC. Since acromegalic patients have lower prevalance of BRAF V600E mutation, BRAF V600E mutation may not be a causative factor in development of DTC in acromegaly. Despite the relation of BRAF V600E and NRAS codon 61 mutations with aggresive histopathologic features, their impact on tumor prognosis remains to be defined in acromegaly in further studies.

Joung JY, Kim TH, Jeong DJ, et al.
Diffuse sclerosing variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma: major genetic alterations and prognostic implications.
Histopathology. 2016; 69(1):45-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Diffuse sclerosing variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (DSV-PTC) is an uncommon variant of PTC, and its prognostic significance remains controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the major genetic alterations of DSV-PTC and their prognostic implications.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We included 37 patients with DSV-PTC who underwent thyroid surgery and had formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples. We tested for a panel of genetic alterations, including BRAF(V) (600E) , NRAS codon 61, HRAS codon 12/13/61 and KRAS codon 12/13 point mutations as well as RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3 and PAX8/PPARγ rearrangements using reverse transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). All genetic alterations found on PCR were confirmed by Sanger sequencing. Associations between the identified genetic alterations and clinicopathological characteristics were evaluated. Among 37 cases of DSV-PTC, 17 were positive for RET/PTC1 (46%), six for RET/PTC3 (16%) and nine for BRAF(V) (600E) (24%). All mutations/rearrangements were mutually exclusive. The remaining five cases had none of the above genetic alterations. DSV-PTC with RET/PTC3 rearrangement was associated with advanced-stage disease, including T4 and distant metastasis (P < 0.05). Patients with RET/PTC3 showed a higher frequency of persistent disease (P < 0.01). In contrast, DSV-PTC with RET/PTC1 was associated with a higher prevalence of disease remission (P < 0.05) and coexistent Hashimoto's thyroiditis (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Taken together, RET/PTC rearrangement was the major genetic alteration seen in patients with DSV-PTC, and the RET/PTC3 rearrangement was associated with advanced stage at diagnosis and poor clinical outcome.

Picarsic JL, Buryk MA, Ozolek J, et al.
Molecular Characterization of Sporadic Pediatric Thyroid Carcinoma with the DNA/RNA ThyroSeq v2 Next-Generation Sequencing Assay.
Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2016 Mar-Apr; 19(2):115-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that our 60-gene DNA/RNA ThyroSeq v2 next-generation sequence (NGS) assay would identify additional genetic markers, including gene fusions in sporadic pediatric differentiated thyroid carcinomas (DTC) that had no known molecular alterations. Sporadic pediatric DTCs with informative molecular testing (n=18) were studied. We previously tested 15 cases by our standard 7-gene (BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, KRAS, RET/PTC1, RET/PTC3, PAX8/PPARg) mutation panel. Three cases were not tested previously. The standard 7-gene panel identified molecular alterations in 9 of 15 tumors (60%). Cases analyzed by ThyroSeq v2 NGS included the six previously negative cases by the standard 7-gene panel and three cases not previously tested. The NGS assay revealed new gene fusions in four of six previously negative cases (67%). These gene fusions included ETV6/NTRK3 (n=3) and TPR/NTRK1 (n=1). A point mutation (BRAF-V600E) was detected in one of three untested cases. While standard testing could identify only molecular alterations in 60% of cases, with the addition of the ThyroSeq v2 NGS, this increased to 87% (n=13/15). Some cases with chromosomal rearrangements, including ETV6/NTRK3, appear to be associated with an aggressive histopathologic phenotype, but had no documented history of radiation exposure. Additional work is needed to investigate if pediatric DTCs could benefit from a reclassification based on molecular subtypes, which may better reflect their underlying biologic potential. Our data support the use of broad gene panels for the molecular diagnostics of pediatric thyroid nodules to aid future classification, treatment, and clinical management recommendations.

Tobiás B, Halászlaki C, Balla B, et al.
Genetic Alterations in Hungarian Patients with Papillary Thyroid Cancer.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2016; 22(1):27-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
The incidence of thyroid cancers is increasing worldwide. Some somatic oncogene mutations (BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, KRAS) as well as gene translocations (RET/PTC, PAX8/PPAR-gamma) have been associated with the development of thyroid cancer. In our study, we analyzed these genetic alterations in 394 thyroid tissue samples (197 papillary carcinomas and 197 healthy). The somatic mutations and translocations were detected by Light Cycler melting method and Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction techniques, respectively. In tumorous samples, 86 BRAF (44.2%), 5 NRAS (3.1%), 2 HRAS (1.0%) and 1 KRAS (0.5%) mutations were found, as well as 9 RET/PTC1 (4.6%) and 1 RET/PTC3 (0.5%) translocations. No genetic alteration was seen in the non tumorous control thyroid tissues. No correlation was detected between the genetic variants and the pathological subtypes of papillary cancer as well as the severity of the disease. Our results are only partly concordant with the data found in the literature.

Klempner SJ, Bazhenova LA, Braiteh FS, et al.
Emergence of RET rearrangement co-existing with activated EGFR mutation in EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients who had progressed on first- or second-generation EGFR TKI.
Lung Cancer. 2015; 89(3):357-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The gatekeeper mutation T790M mutation is the responsible for the majority of the resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in patients with EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Other previously described resistance mechanisms include HER2 amplification, MET amplification, PIK3CA mutation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), small cell transformation have also been identified. However other resistance mechanisms remains to be discovered.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Hybrid-capture based comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) was performed on pre- and post-EGFR TKI progression EGFR-mutated NSCLC tumor samples during routine clinical care. We identify two paired pre- and post-EGFR TKI progression EGFR-mutated NSCLC patient tumor samples where both post EGFR TKI samples harbored in-frame CCDC6-RET rearrangements but not in the pre-EGFR TKI tumor samples. Furthermore analysis of the clinical database revealed one additional NCOA4-RET rearrangement co-existing with activated EGFR mutation in an EGFR-mutated NSCLC patient who had progressed on afatinib. None of the known resistance mechanisms to EGFR TKI including EGFR T790M, EGFR amplification, HER2 amplification, MET amplification, PIK3CA mutation, BRAF mutation, EMT or small cell transformation was identified in the three post progression samples that now harbored RET rearrangements.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of RET rearrangement co-existing with activated EGFR mutations in EGFR-mutated patients who had progressed on either first- or second generation EGFR TKI. As such, RET rearrangement may serve as a potential resistance mechanism to EGFR TKI in EGFR-mutated NSCLC.

Le Rolle AF, Klempner SJ, Garrett CR, et al.
Identification and characterization of RET fusions in advanced colorectal cancer.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(30):28929-37 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
There is an unmet clinical need for molecularly directed therapies available for metastatic colorectal cancer. Comprehensive genomic profiling has the potential to identify actionable genomic alterations in colorectal cancer. Through comprehensive genomic profiling we prospectively identified 6 RET fusion kinases, including two novel fusions of CCDC6-RET and NCOA4-RET, in metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. RET fusion kinases represent a novel class of oncogenic driver in CRC and occurred at a 0.2% frequency without concurrent driver mutations, including KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA or other fusion tyrosine kinases. Multiple RET kinase inhibitors were cytotoxic to RET fusion kinase positive cancer cells and not RET fusion kinase negative CRC cells. The presence of a RET fusion kinase may identify a subset of metastatic CRC patients with a high response rate to RET kinase inhibition. This is the first characterization of RET fusions in CRC patients and highlights the therapeutic significance of prospective comprehensive genomic profiling in advanced CRC.

Lin C, Wang S, Xie W, et al.
The RET fusion gene and its correlation with demographic and clinicopathological features of non-small cell lung cancer: a meta-analysis.
Cancer Biol Ther. 2015; 16(7):1019-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: The RET fusion gene is a novel oncogene observed in a subset of NSCLC in recent years. Nevertheless, the results of epidemiological studies concerning the gene remain unclear. Thus, a meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the correlation of RET fusion gene with demographic and clinicopathological features of NSCLC.
METHODS: PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases were searched to identify eligible studies. The association of RET fusion gene occurrence with gender, age, smoking status, histology type and tumor stage were analyzed in meta-analysis. Subgroup analysis according to patients' location (Asian and non-Asian) was also conducted. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were calculated to assess the correlation.
RESULTS: Nine studies with a total of 6,899 NSCLC patients met the inclusion criteria. A total of 84 patients with RET fusion gene were detected. The RET fusion gene was identified at significantly higher frequencies in female (OR = 0.55, 95%CI = 0.35-0.85) than male patients and in young (<60) patients (OR = 0.43, 95%CI = 0.19-0.99) than old patients (≤60), particularly in patients from Asian. A significant higher frequency was also identified in non-smokers (OR = 0.28, 95% CI = 0.16-0.49), and in patients with lung adenocarcinomas (OR = 3.59, 95%CI = 1.50-8.56). Additionally, no association between RET fusion gene and the TNM stage of tumor was observed.
CONCLUSION: RET fusion gene occurred predominantly in Asian females with younger age, in non-smokers, and in lung adenocarcinomas patients. This subset of NSCLC patients might be good candidates for personalized diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

Zhang T, Lu Y, Ye Q, et al.
An evaluation and recommendation of the optimal methodologies to detect RET gene rearrangements in papillary thyroid carcinoma.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2015; 54(3):168-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
To recommend a reliable and clinically realistic RET/PTC rearrangement detection assay for papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), we compared multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and immunohistochemistry (IHC). RET/PTC rearrangement was detected using either RET break-apart FISH followed by multicolor FISH to confirm CCDC6/RET or NCOA4/RET fusions, or by multiplex qPCR to detect 14 RET/PTC subtypes with simultaneous RET mRNA expression. RET protein expression was detected by IHC. The specificity and sensitivity of multiplex qPCR and IHC were calculated using break-apart FISH as a reference. Among 73 PTC patients with sufficient tissue available for FISH and multiplex qPCR, 10 cases were defined as RET/PTC positive by both assays, including eight CCDC6/RET and two NCOA4/RET fusions with relatively high RET mRNA. In addition, multiplex qPCR identified another two CCDC6/RET fusion positive cases, but with low RET mRNA expression. IHC staining identified 11 RET positive cases among 39 patients with available samples. In comparison to FISH, multiplex qPCR displayed 100% sensitivity and 97% specificity to detect RET/PTC fusions, while IHC was neither sensitive nor specific. Our data reveal that both multiplex qPCR and FISH assays are equally applicable for detection of RET/PTC rearrangements. Break-apart FISH methodology is highly recommended for the wider screening of RET rearrangements (regardless of partner genes), while multiplex qPCR is preferred to identify all known fusion types using one assay, provided mRNA expression is also measured. IHC analysis could potentially provide an additional method of fusion detection dependent on further optimization of assay conditions and scoring cutoffs.

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