World journal of surgery 42(2) 358-366 doi 10.1007/s00268-017-4299-6
Efficient DNA damage repair by MutL-homolog DNA mismatch repair (MMR) enzymes, MLH1, MLH3, PMS1 and PMS2, are required to maintain thyrocyte genomic integrity. We hypothesized that persistent oxidative stress and consequent transcriptional dysregulation observed in thyroid follicles will lead to MMR deficiency and potentiate papillary thyroid tumorigenesis.
MMR gene expression was analyzed by targeted microarray in 18 papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), 9 paracarcinoma normal thyroid (PCNT) and 10 normal thyroid (NT) samples. The findings were validated by qRT-PCR, and in follicular thyroid cancers (FTC) and follicular thyroid adenomas (FTA) for comparison. FOXO transcription factor expression was also analyzed. Protein expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Genomic integrity was evaluated by whole-exome sequencing-derived read-depth analysis and Mann-Whitney U test. Clinical correlations were assessed using Fisher’s exact and t tests.
Microarray and qRT-PCR revealed reduced expression of all four MMR genes in PTC compared with PCNT and of PMS2 compared with NT. FTC and FTA showed upregulation in MLH1, MLH3 and PMS2. PMS2 protein expression correlated with the mRNA expression pattern. FOXO1 showed lower expression in PMS2-deficient PTCs (log2-fold change -1.72 vs. -0.55, U = 11, p < 0.05 two-tailed). Rate of LOH, a measure of genomic instability, was higher in PMS2-deficient PTCs (median 3 and 1, respectively; U = 26, p < 0.05 two-tailed). No correlation was noted between MMR deficiency and clinical characteristics. CONCLUSIONS
MMR deficiency, potentially promoted by FOXO1 suppression, may explain the etiology for PTC development in some patients. FTC and FTA retain MMR activity and are likely caused by a different tumorigenic pathway.