BACKGROUND: With the advent of microarray technology, increasing numbers of marker genes are proposed to distinguish benign and malignant thyroid lesions. However, most markers await confirmation through independent studies. In this paper, we re-evaluate the diagnostic potential of 10 proposed candidate genes in benign and malignant thyroid pathologies in a region with borderline iodine deficiency.
METHODS: Quantitative real-time PCR was performed for CCND2, PLAB, PCSK2, HGD1, TFF3, B4GALT, LGALS3, ETS1, ADM3, and TG in 150 thyroid specimens, including 52 benign thyroid nodules (28 follicular adenoma and 24 adenomatous nodules), 52 corresponding normal thyroid tissues, 20 follicular carcinomas, 20 papillary carcinomas, and six undifferentiated carcinomas.
RESULTS: On a single-gene basis, significant differences in mRNA expression were found for TFF3, PLAB, and ADM3 in benign thyroid nodules and thyroid malignancy. Using two-marker gene sets, we identified 11 combinations, which allowed both a distinction of benign and malignant thyroid nodules and a discrimination of follicular adenoma and carcinoma. However, for cancer prediction, analysis of a minimum of six genes per sample was necessary and allowed correct prediction of a benign thyroid lesion and thyroid cancer with 94% accuracy in the most discriminative set (TFF3/PLAB/TG/ADM3/HGD1/LGALS3).
CONCLUSION: We confirm the applicability of a number of recently proposed marker genes for the distinction of benign and malignant thyroid tumor and suggest that their diagnostic usefulness is independent of the iodide supply. We propose that the most discriminative marker set identified in our validation study together with marker combinations proposed by other investigators should now be evaluated in multicenter trials.
2008. Vol. 93, no 4, 1390-3 p.