Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common form of thyroid cancer, accounting for greater than 80% of cases. Surgical resection, with or without postoperative radioiodine therapy, remains the standard of care for patients with PTC, and the prognosis is generally excellent with appropriate treatment. Despite this, significant numbers of patients will not respond to maximal surgical and medical therapy and ultimately will die from the disease. This mortality reflects an incomplete understanding of the oncogenic mechanisms that initiate, drive, and promote PTC. Nonetheless, significant insights into the pathologic subcellular events underlying PTC have been discovered over the last 2 decades, and this remains an area of significant research interest. Chromosomal rearrangements resulting in the expression of fusion proteins that involve the rearranged during transfection (RET) proto-oncogene were the first oncogenic events to be identified in PTC. Members of this fusion protein family (the RET/PTC family) appear to play an oncogenic role in approximately 20% of PTCs. Herein, the authors review the current understanding of the clinicopathologic role of RET/PTC fusion proteins in PTC development and progression and the molecular mechanisms by which RET/PTCs exert their oncogenic effects on the thyroid epithelium. Cancer 2015;121:2137-2146.
- papillary thyroid cancer
- pediatric thyroid cancer
- rearranged during transfection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research