Molecular diagnosis & therapy 22(1) 41-56 doi 10.1007/s40291-017-0303-y
Thyroid carcinoma (TC) is the most frequent malignant neoplasm of the endocrine system. Molecular methods for diagnosis of invasive thyroid disease can be effectively adopted. Epigenetic factors play an important role in the diversity patterns of gene expression and the phenotypic and biological characteristics of TC subtypes. We aimed to review epigenetic changes in the main subtypes of TC, along with a presentation of the methods that have examined these changes, and active clinical trials for the treatment of advanced TCs targeting epigenetic changes. A literature analysis was performed in MEDLINE using PubMed, Elsevier, and Google Scholar for studies published up to 2016, using the keywords: "Epigenetic alterations" OR "Epigenetic changes", "thyroid cancers", "papillary thyroid cancer", "medullary thyroid cancer", "follicular thyroid cancer", and "anaplastic thyroid cancer", which resulted in 310 articles in English. All related abstracts were reviewed and studies were included that were published in English, had available full text, and determined the details of the methods and materials associated with the epigenetic patterns of TC and its subtypes (100 articles). Analysis of epigenetic alterations in TC subtypes helps to identify pathogenesis and can play an important role in the classification and diagnosis of tumors. Epigenetic mechanisms, especially aberrant methylation of DNA and microRNAs (miRs), are likely to play an important role in thyroid tumorigenesis. Further studies are required to elucidate the role of histone modification mechanisms in TC development.