Background: Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a relatively rare thyroid neoplasm derived from neuroendocrine C cells which secrete calcitonin. αKlotho (αKL) and βKlotho (βKL) are transmembrane proteins which modulate different signaling systems, such as endocrine FGFs and IGF1 pathways. Dysregulation of the FGF19/FGFR4/βKL and IGF-1/IGF-1R/αKL signaling axes has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several cancers. However, their role in the pathogenesis of MTC has not been determined.
Methods: The aim of this study was to assess αKL, βKL, FGF19, IGF-1, FGFR4, and IGF-1R concentrations in a group of 11 patients with medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). The control group consisted of 20 healthy volunteers. Serum concentrations of these factors were measured using specific ELISA methods.
Results: Significantly lower concentrations of βKL and higher concentrations of FGFR4 and IGF-1R were found in patients with MTC as compared to controls.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that a disrupted signaling pathway for βKL, FGFR4 and IGF-1R may play a role in the development of medullary thyroid cancers. However, further studies are required to confirm these findings and to use this knowledge in clinical practice.