Follicular and Hurthle cell carcinomas of the thyroid cannot be differentiated from adenomas by either preoperative fine needle aspiration or intraoperative frozen section examination, and yet there exist potentially significant differences in the recommended surgical management. We examined, by PCR-based microsatellite polymorphism analysis, DNA obtained from 83 thyroid neoplasms [22 follicular adenomas, 29 follicular carcinomas, 20 Hurthle cell adenomas (HA), and 12 Hurthle cell carcinomas (HC)] to determine whether a pattern of allelic alteration exists that could help distinguish benign from malignant lesions. Alterations were found in only 7.5% of informative PCR reactions from follicular neoplasms, whereas they were found in 23.3% of reactions from Hurthle cell neoplasms. Although there were no significant differences between follicular adenoma and follicular carcinoma, HC demonstrated a significantly greater percentage of allelic alteration than HA on chromosomal arms 1q (P < 0.001) and 2p (P < 0.05) by Fisher's exact test. The documentation of an alteration on either 1q or 2p was 100% sensitive and 65% specific in the detection of HC (P < 0.0005, by McNemar's test). In conclusion, PCR-based microsatellite polymorphism analysis may be a useful technique in distinguishing HC from HA. Potentially, the application of this technique to aspirated material may allow this distinction preoperatively and thus facilitate more optimal surgical management. Consistent regions of allelic alteration may also indicate the locations of critical genes, such as tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes, that are important in the progression from adenoma to carcinoma. Finally, this study demonstrates that Hurthle cell neoplasms, now considered variants of follicular neoplasms, differ significantly from follicular neoplasms on a molecular level.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical