Oncocytic tumors are marked by enhanced mitochondrial content and mtDNA mutations of complex I in Chinese patients

Lihua Lyu, Qiufeng Wang, Shujie Song, Liyan Li, Huaibin Zhou, Ming Li, Zhi Ying Jiang, Chen Zhou, Guorong Chen, Jianxin Lyu, Yidong Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Oncocytic tumors are composed of oncocytes characterized by acidophilic granular and reticular cytoplasm. Such features have been attributed to the distinctive aggregation of abnormal mitochondria. Sporadic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations, particularly those in complex I subunit genes, have been identified as one of the most noticeable alterations. We reviewed 11,051 cases of patients with thyroid tumors who visited the First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University from January 2011 to August 2017, and we were able to identify 123 cases as oncocytic tumors. We found that older people are at higher risk (P < 0.001) for oncocytic tumors. We confirmed an increased mitochondrial mass in representative samples. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of the mitochondrial genomes in patients with oncocytomas revealed 1) haplogroups D5 and A exhibit increased risk of oncocytomas; 2) 60% of mtDNA mutations are in genes encoding respiratory complex subunits while 8% occur in rRNA and 4% in tRNA regions; 3) among mutations in coding regions, 50% are in Complex I genes, including most of the disruptive mutations; 4) 64% of mtDNA mutations are heteroplasmic. Our studies imply a tumorigenesis mechanism for oncocytomas involving mitochondrial alterations mediated by genome instability and modified by mitochondrial haplogroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Complex I
  • Heteroplasmy
  • Mitochondrial DNA mutations
  • Mitochondrial haplogroup
  • Oncocytic tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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