Radiation-Induced Thyroid Cancers: Overview of Molecular Signatures

Cancers (Basel). 2019 Sep 2;11(9):1290. doi: 10.3390/cancers11091290.


Enormous amounts of childhood thyroid cancers, mostly childhood papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs), after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident have revealed a mutual relationship between the radiation exposure and thyroid cancer development. While the internal exposure to radioactive 131I is involved in the childhood thyroid cancers after the Chernobyl accident, people exposed to the external radiation, such as atomic-bomb (A-bomb) survivors, and the patients who received radiation therapy, have also been epidemiologically demonstrated to develop thyroid cancers. In order to elucidate the mechanisms of radiation-induced carcinogenesis, studies have aimed at defining the molecular changes associated with the thyroid cancer development. Here, we overview the literatures towards the identification of oncogenic alterations, particularly gene rearrangements, and discuss the existence of radiation signatures associated with radiation-induced thyroid cancers.

Keywords: RET/PTC; driver mutation; molecular signature; radiation; thyroid carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Review