Exploring the association Between DICER1 mutations and differentiated thyroid carcinoma

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Jun;99(6):E1072-7. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-4206. Epub 2014 Mar 11.


Context: Carriers of germline DICER1 mutations are predisposed to a rare cancer syndrome, the DICER1 syndrome. Thyroid abnormalities are a common finding in DICER1 syndrome with multinodular goiter frequently present in many families in which a germline DICER1 mutation is segregating. Differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) is infrequently seen in such pedigrees. In addition to germline DICER1 mutations, specific somatic mutations have been identified in the DICER1 ribonuclease IIIb catalytic domain in several tumor types.

Objective: We aimed to determine whether such characteristic somatic DICER1 mutations are present in DTCs that arise within germline DICER1 mutation carriers.

Design and setting: The study involved an opportunistic collection of 3 cases of DTC arising in individuals suspected to have DICER1 syndrome and hospital-based ascertainment and testing was implemented.

Results: We identified somatic DICER1 mutations in 3 DTCs arising in unrelated germline DICER1 mutation carriers, all of whom had been diagnosed in infancy with pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB), were treated with chemotherapy, exposed frequently to diagnostic radiation, and subsequently developed DTC. The somatic mutations occurred within the DICER1 ribonuclease IIIb domain, affecting highly conserved amino acid residues central to the catalytic activity of the domain.

Conclusion: This report of somatic DICER1 mutations in DTC strengthens the association between DTC and the DICER1 syndrome. The possible association between germline DICER1 mutations, PPB treatment, and the risk of subsequent DTC must be considered by clinicians when treating PPB.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / genetics*
  • Child, Preschool
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Ribonuclease III / genetics*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics*


  • DICER1 protein, human
  • Ribonuclease III
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases