Foci of papillary or follicular thyroid carcinoma are frequently noted in thyroidectomy specimens of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC). However, whether ATCs evolve from these co-existing well-differentiated thyroid carcinomas (WDTCs) has not been well-understood. To investigate the progression of ATC in patients with co-existing WDTCs, five ATC tumors with co-existing WDTCs and matching normal tissues were whole-exome sequenced. After mapping the somatic alteration landscape, evolutionary lineages were constructed by sub-clone analysis. Though each tumor harbored at least some unique private mutations, all five ATCs demonstrated numerous overlapping mutations with matched WDTCs. Clonal analysis further demonstrated that each ATC/WDTC pair shared a common ancestor, with some pairs diverging early in their evolution and others in which the ATC seems to arise directly from a sub-clone of the WDTC. Though the precise lineal relationship remains ambiguous, based on the genetic relationship, our study clearly suggests a shared origin of ATC and WDTC.
Keywords: anaplastic thyroid carcinoma; clonal evolution; exome sequencing; well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.