Histopathology 72(1) 6-31 doi 10.1111/his.13380
Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy. Knowledge of the molecular pathology of thyroid tumours originating from follicular cells has greatly advanced in the past several years. Common molecular alterations, such as BRAF p.V600E, RAS point mutations, and fusion oncogenes (RET-PTC being the prototypical example), have been, respectively, associated with conventional papillary carcinoma, follicular-patterned tumours (follicular adenoma, follicular carcinoma, and the follicular variant of papillary carcinoma/non-invasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features), and with papillary carcinomas from young patients and arising after exposure to ionising radiation, respectively. The remarkable correlation between genotype and phenotype shows how specific, mutually exclusive molecular changes can promote tumour development and initiate a multistep tumorigenic process that is characterised by aberrant activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphoinositide 3-kinase-PTEN-AKT signalling. Molecular alterations are becoming useful biomarkers for diagnosis and risk stratification, and as potential treatment targets for aggressive forms of thyroid carcinoma. What follows is a review of the principal genetic alterations of thyroid tumours originating from follicular cells and of their clinicopathological relevance.