Background: Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is one of the most aggressive human malignancies and appears to arise mainly from transformation of pre-existing differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). However, the carcinogenic mechanism of anaplastic transformation remains unclear. Previously, we investigated specific genes related to ATC based on gene expression profiling using cDNA microarray analysis. One of these genes, transcription elongation factor A (SII)-like 4 (TCEAL4), encodes a member of the transcription elongation factor A (SII)-like gene family. The detailed function of TCEAL4 has not been described nor has any association between this gene and human cancers been reported previously.
Methods: To investigate the role of TCEAL4 in ATC carcinogenesis, we examined expression levels of TCEAL4 in ACLs as well as in other types of thyroid cancers and normal human tissue.
Results: Expression of TCEAL4 was down-regulated in all 11 ACLs as compared to either normal thyroid tissues or papillary and follicular thyroid cancerous tissues. TCEAL4 was expressed ubiquitously in all normal human tissues tested.
Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first report of altered TCEAL4 expression in human cancers. We suggest that loss of TCEAL4 expression might be associated with development of ATC from DTC. Further functional studies are required.