Background: PTEN gene at chromosomes 10q23.3 is a tumour suppressor gene that is inactivated in many types of human cancers. The known mechanisms of PTEN inactivation are rendered to mutation, epigenetic silencing by aberrant methylation or gene deletion. Although PTEN role has been documented in many cancers, PTEN alteration in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) has not been fully elucidated. The aim of this study is to comprehensively investigate PTEN alterations in a large cohort of Middle Eastern papillary thyroid cancer by immunohistochemistry and fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH). Methods: PTEN protein expression was analysed by immunohistochemistry in a tissue microarray (TMA) format in a large cohort of more than 1000 patients with papillary thyroid cancer. Copy number changes in PTEN were analysed by FISH and data were correlated with clinicopathological parameters along with survival analysis. Results: PTEN inactivation reflected by complete absence of staining was seen in 24.5% of PTC samples, whereas PTEN deletion was seen only in 4.8% of the tested samples by FISH. No association was seen between PTEN loss of protein expression and PTEN gene deletion. However, interestingly, PTEN loss of expression was significantly associated with the follicular variant subset of papillary thyroid cancer. Conclusion: Our study confirmed that PTEN might have a role in pathogenesis in a subset of PTC. PTEN loss of protein expression is a more common event in follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer. Lack of association between PTEN loss of protein expression and PTEN gene deletion might indicate that gene deletion may not be the sole cause for PTEN loss of expression and these results might raise the possibility of other mechanism such as promoter methylation-mediated gene silencing to be responsible for PTEN inactivation.
- Follicular variant
- Papillary thyroid cancer