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Open Access Research

Activation of the two microRNA clusters C19MC and miR-371-3 does not play prominent role in thyroid cancer

Volkhard Rippe1, Inga Flor1, Johannes Wolfram Debler1, Norbert Drieschner1, Birgit Rommel1, Daniel Krause2, Klaus Junker2 and Jörn Bullerdiek1*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Human Genetics, University of Bremen, Leobener Str. ZHG, 28359, Bremen, Germany

2 Department of Pathology, Hospital Bremen-Mitte, St.-Jürgen-Str. 1, 28177, Bremen, Germany

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Molecular Cytogenetics 2012, 5:40  doi:10.1186/1755-8166-5-40

Published: 15 October 2012

Abstract

Chromosomal rearrangements of band 19q13.4 are frequent cytogenetic alterations in benign thyroid adenomas. Apparently, these alterations lead to the upregulation of genes encoding microRNAs of two clusters mapping to the breakpoint region, i.e. miR-371-3 and C19MC. Since members of both clusters have been associated with neoplastic growth in other tumor entities the question arises whether or not their upregulation predisposes to malignant transformation of follicular cells of the thyroid. To address this question we have quantified the expression of miR-372 and miR-520c-3p in samples of 114 thyroid cancers including eight anaplastic thyroid carcinomas, 25 follicular thyroid carcinomas, 78 papillary thyroid carcinomas (including 13 follicular variants thereof), two medullary thyroid carcinomas and one oncocytic thyroid carcinoma. Additionally, we quantified miR-371a-3p and miR-519a-3p in selected samples. While in neither of the cases miR-520c-3p and miR-519a-3p were found to be upregulated, one papillary and one anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, respectively, showed upregulation of miR-372 and miR-371a-3p. However, in these cases fluorescence in situ hybridization did not reveal rearrangements of the common breakpoint region as affected in adenomas. Thus, these rearrangements do apparently not play a major role as first steps in malignant transformation of the thyroid epithelium. Moreover, there is no evidence that 19q13.4 rearrangements characterize a subgroup of thyroid adenomas associated with a higher risk to undergo malignant transformation. Vice versa, the mechanisms by which 19q13.4 rearrangements contribute to benign tumorigenesis in the thyroid remain to be elucidated.

Keywords:
Thyroid tumors; microRNAs; C19MC; miR-371-3