Comprehensive Genetic Analysis of Follicular Thyroid Carcinoma Predicts Prognosis Independent of Histology

Norman G. Nicolson, Timothy D. Murtha, Weilai Dong, Johan O. Paulsson, Jungmin Choi, Andrea L. Barbieri, Taylor C. Brown, John W. Kunstman, Catharina Larsson, Manju L. Prasad, Reju Korah, Richard P. Lifton, C. Christofer Juhlin, Tobias Carling

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67 Scopus citations


Context Follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) is classified into minimally invasive (miFTC), encapsulated angioinvasive (eaFTC), and widely invasive (wiFTC) subtypes, according to the 2017 World Health Organization guidelines. The genetic signatures of these subtypes may be crucial for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment but have not been described. Objective Identify and describe the genetic underpinnings of subtypes of FTC. Methods Thirty-nine tumors, comprising 12 miFTCs, 17 eaFTCs, and 10 wiFTCs, were whole-exome sequenced and analyzed. Somatic mutations, constitutional sequence variants, somatic copy number alterations, and mutational signatures were described. Clinicopathologic parameters and mutational profiles were assessed for associations with patient outcomes. Results Total mutation burden was consistent across FTC subtypes, with a median of 10 (range 1 to 44) nonsynonymous somatic mutations per tumor. Overall, 20.5% of specimens had a mutation in the RAS subfamily (HRAS, KRAS, or NRAS), with no notable difference between subtypes. Mutations in TSHR, DICER1, EIF1AX, KDM5C, NF1, PTEN, and TP53 were also noted to be recurrent across the cohort. Clonality analysis demonstrated more subclones in wiFTC. Survival analysis demonstrated worse disease-specific survival in the eaFTC and wiFTC cohorts, with no recurrences or deaths for patients with miFTC. Mutation burden was associated with worse prognosis, independent of histopathological classification. Conclusions Though the number and variety of somatic variants are similar in the different histopathological subtypes of FTC in our study, mutational burden was an independent predictor of mortality and recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2640-2650
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


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