In an attempt to find genes that may be of importance in malignant progression of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) in the Middle East, which therefore can be targeted in cancer therapy, we screened and validated the global gene expression in PTC using cDNA expression arrays and immunohistochemistry (IHC) on tumour tissue microarrays. Twenty-nine PTC tissue specimens were compared with seven non-cancerous thyroid specimens by use of cDNA microarray. Results for selected genes were confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. Protein expression of selected genes was further studied using a tissue microarray consisting of 536 PTCs and compared with histologically non-cancerous tissue samples. One hundred and ninety-six genes were overexpressed in PTC tissues relative to non-cancerous thyroid tissues. The genes that were up-regulated in PTC were involved in cell cycle regulation, cell signaling, and oncogenesis. Among these genes, c-MET was identified by immunohistochemical methods as a protein that is overexpressed in 37% of PTCs and was significantly associated with more aggressive behaviour, eg higher stage, nodal involvement, and tall cell variant (p value = 0.01, 0.01 and 0.04, respectively). In this study, 55% of the PTC cases expressed activated AKT (P-AKT), which suggests that activated AKT may play an important role in PTC tumourigenesis. The fact that most of the PTC cases that had activated AKT showed overexpression of c-MET (p = 0.027) leads us to hypothesize that c-MET may be an alternative mechanism of AKT activation in Middle Eastern PTCs. Finally, our data suggest that c-MET dysregulation is associated with aggressive behaviour and may serve as a molecular biomarker and potential therapeutic target in this disease.
- Gene expression
- Papillary thyroid carcinoma
- Targeted therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine