The Journal of pathology 2017 12 28244(2) 215-226 doi 10.1002/path.5005
Improvement in the clinical outcome of human cancers requires characterization of the genetic alterations underlying their pathogenesis. Large-scale genomic and transcriptomic characterization of papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs) in Western populations has revealed multiple oncogenic drivers which are essential for understanding pathogenic mechanisms of this disease, while, so far, the genetic landscape in Chinese patients with PTC remains uncharacterized. Here, we conducted a large-scale genetic analysis of PTCs from patients in China to determine the mutational landscape of this cancer. By performing targeted DNA amplicon and targeted RNA deep-sequencing, we elucidated the landscape of somatic genetic alterations in 355 Chinese patients with PTC. A total of 88.7% of PTCs were found to harbor at least one candidate oncogenic driver genetic alteration. Among them, around 72.4% of the cases carried BRAF mutations; 2.8% of cases harbored RAS mutations; and 13.8% of cases were characterized with in-frame gene fusions, including seven newly identified kinase gene fusions. TERT promoter mutations were likely to occur in a sub-clonal manner in our PTC cohort. The prevalence of somatic genetic alterations in PTC was significantly different between our Chinese cohort and TCGA datasets for American patients. Additionally, combined analyses of genetic alterations and clinicopathologic features demonstrated that kinase gene fusion was associated with younger age at diagnosis, larger tumor size, and lymph node metastasis in PTC. With the analyses of DNA rearrangement sites of RET gene fusions in PTC, signatures of chromosome translocations related to RET fusion events were also depicted. Collectively, our results provide fundamental insight into the pathogenesis of PTC in the Chinese population. Copyright © 2017 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.