Carriers of the C allele of the common C825T polymorphism in the GNB3 gene of the G protein have been associated with the development of follicular thyroid adenomas. Since the C allele of this polymorphism is related to a lower signalling capacity, it was speculated whether the C825T polymorphism may play a particular role in oncocytic thyroid tumours, which are recognized for their reduced ability to synthesize thyroid-specific proteins and hormones, although they possess an intact thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor-adenylyl cyclase system. Using pyrosequencing, both the genotype distribution and the allele frequency of the C825T polymorphism were investigated in a series of 104 patients with oncocytic thyroid tumours of follicular cell origin [58 adenomas, 41 follicular thyroid carcinomas (FTCs), and five papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs)]; the results were compared with those obtained from 321 age and gender-matched healthy blood donors and a series of 327 non-oncocytic thyroid tumours of follicular cell origin (119 adenomas, 80 FTCs, and 186 PTCs). Analysis of the genotype distribution (comparing oncocytic with non-oncocytic tumours of the present series) revealed a significantly increased odds ratio (OR) for CC versus TT (OR = 4.22; p = 0.011) and CC versus CT (OR = 1.62; p = 0.049) carriers to develop an oncocytic thyroid tumour; ORs to develop an oncocytic thyroid tumour were also increased comparing the genotype distribution between the group of oncocytic tumours and healthy controls for CC versus TT (OR = 3.73; p = 0.017) and CC versus all T carriers (OR = 1.56; p = 0.034). Oncocytic thyroid tumours as a group showed a statistically significant increase of the C-allele frequency when compared with all non-oncocytic tumours (p = 0.0039) as well as healthy blood donors (p = 0.017). The results strongly suggest that the C allele of the GNB3 C825T polymorphism of the G protein beta3-subunit is associated with an increased risk for the development of oncocytic thyroid tumours. This polymorphism may thus be considered a (co)factor favouring the development of oncocytic thyroid tumours, although the biological mechanism(s) underlying this association remain obscure.
Copyright (c) 2006 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.