Context: The BRAF V600E mutation (BRAF-MUT) confers an aggressive phenotype in papillary thyroid carcinoma, but unidentified additional genomic abnormalities may be required for full phenotypic expression. Objective: RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed to identify genes differentially expressed between BRAF-MUT and BRAF wild-type (BRAF-WT) tumors and to correlate changes to patient clinical status. Design: BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors were identified in patients with T1N0 and T2-3N1 tumors evaluated in a referral medical center. Gene expression levels were determined (RNA-Seq) and fusion transcripts were detected. Multiplexed capture/detection and digital counting of mRNA transcripts (nCounter, NanoString Technologies) validated RNA-Seq data for immune system-related genes. Patients: BRAF-MUT patients included nine women, three men; nine were TNM stage I and three were stage III. Three (25%) had tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. BRAF-WT included five women, three men; all were stage I, and five (62.5%) had tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. Results: RNA-Seq identified 560 of 13 085 genes differentially expressed between BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors. Approximately 10% of these genes were related to MetaCore immune function pathways; 51 were underexpressed in BRAF-MUT tumors, whereas 4 (HLAG, CXCL14, TIMP1, IL1RAP) were overexpressed. The four most differentially overexpressed immune genes in BRAF-WT tumors (IL1B; CCL19; CCL21; CXCR4) correlated with lymphocyte infiltration. nCounter confirmed the RNA-Seq expression level data. Eleven different high-confidence fusion transcripts were detected (four interchromosomal; seven intrachromosomal) in 13 of 20 tumors. All in-frame fusions were validated by RT-PCR. Conclusion: BRAF-MUT papillary thyroid cancers have reduced expression of immune/inflammatory response genes compared with BRAF-WT tumors and correlate with lymphocyte infiltration. In contrast,HLA-GandCXCL14are overexpressed inBRAF-MUTtumors. Sixty-five percent of tumors had between one and three fusion transcripts. Functional studies will be required to determine the potential role of these newly identified genomic abnormalities in contributing to the aggressiveness of BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical