High frequency of activation of tyrosine kinase oncogenes in human papillary thyroid carcinoma

Oncogene. 1989 Dec;4(12):1457-62.


We had previously detected a transforming oncogene, designated PTC, in 25% of 20 papillary thyroid carcinomas. In order to characterize further the transforming activity of this tumour histotype, a new panel of tumour specimens from 16 patients was analysed by using a modified calcium phosphate-DNA coprecipitation transfection protocol. Tumour DNA from 10 patients (62%) displayed a transforming activity due to activation of three different oncogenes identified in four cases as PTC, in four cases as TRK, and in two cases as N-RAS. The same structural alterations of PTC and TRK (gene rearrangements) as well as of N-RAS (point mutation) detected in the NIH3T3 transformants, were also found in the original tumour DNAs, thus indicating that their activation was not due to transfection procedures. Since both PTC, a novel rearranged form of RET, and TRK display a tyrosine protein kinase activity, it is proposed that the activation of this class of oncogenes is specifically involved in the pathogenesis of papillary thyroid cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / isolation & purification
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Oncogenes*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Transfection


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases