Somatic in frame deletions not involving juxtamembranous cysteine residues strongly activate the RET proto-oncogene

Oncogene. 1997 May 29;14(21):2609-12. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1201079.


Somatic RET mutations have been identified in a variable proportion (about 30-70%) of sporadic Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC) cases. They are represented by the Met918Thr substitution (exon 16) typical of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2B (MEN2B) and, to a lesser extent, by nucleotide changes occurring at one of five critical cysteine residues (exons 10 and 11) typical of MEN type 2A (MEN2A). An in vitro transforming activity has already been demonstrated for these mutations. A few different MTC somatic mutations have been reported so far whose biological activity has still to be tested. In this paper we report the identification, in two MTC tumor samples, of two interstitial deletions of 48 bp and 6 bp occurred in exons 10 and 11 respectively. Both were somatic heterozygous in frame mutations, not involving any cysteine residue. Moreover, the expression of a full length RET cDNA carrying one of the two deletions demonstrated a strong transforming capacity in NIH3T3 cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Medullary / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cysteine*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Sequence Deletion*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics
  • Transfection


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Ret protein, Drosophila
  • Ret protein, mouse
  • Cysteine