Mutations in the ras genes (H-ras, K-ras, and N-ras) occur in 10-15% of all human cancers, and commonly arise from single base substitutions at codons 12, 13, or 61. Although ras mutations have been found in adult thyroid cancers, they were absent from the two studies which examined childhood thyroid cancers. Both studies included only children with radiation induced thyroid cancer, and it remains unclear if ras mutations occur in children without radiation exposure. To answer this question, we examined archival tissue blocks from 31 children with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) 4 with follicular thyroid cancer (FTC), 2 with medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), and 1 with lymphoma (LYM). Only 1 patient with PTC had previous radiation exposure. Genomic DNA was extracted and used for PCR amplification of the ras genes. The PCR products were analyzed by oligospecific hybridization for mutations at codons 12, 13, and 61. Two of the PTCs (6.5%) contained ras mutations. Both patients had class II disease and no history of previous radiation exposure. One patient subsequently developed bone and lung metastases. The patient with lymphoma also had a ras mutation (N-61), but ras mutations were absent from all FTC and MTC. These results suggest that ras mutations are uncommon in spontaneous childhood thyroid cancer, but occur with a frequency similar to that found in previous reports of adult differentiated thyroid cancers. The number of subjects was too small to determine if ras mutations are more common in patients with aggressive papillary thyroid cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism