In order to approach the genetic mechanisms behind initiation and progression of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) tumorigenesis, we characterized numerical chromosomal imbalances in a panel of 25 PTCs with varying histopathological and clinical features using comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). The most frequently detected imbalance was gain of 9q33-qter, which was seen in close to 30% of the cases. The commonly occurring regions of loss were assigned to 22q (12%) and 9q21.3-q32 (12%), while gains preferentially involved the entire X chromosome (20%), 1q (16%), 17q (16%), and 22q (12%). The distribution of CGH alterations supports the idea of a progression of genetic events in the development of PTC, where gain of 9q33-qter would represent a relatively early event that is followed by loss of 22q and gain of X, 1q, 17q, and 22q. When the detected CGH alterations were compared with the clinical outcome and the histopathological features of the 25 PTC cases, several statistically significant correlations were revealed. The total number of genetic alterations was higher in tumors from patients with aggressive disease as compared to those without signs of aggressiveness. Gain of 1q and loss of 9q21.3-q32 were exclusively seen in tumors from patients with aggressive disease, and the presence of distant metastases was associated with gain of 1q. A sex-dependent distribution was also evident for one of the common alterations, with gain of X exclusively seen in male cases. Taken together, the findings identify several candidate locations for tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes that are potentially involved in the establishment and progression of papillary thyroid carcinogenesis.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.