Chapter 8

Thyroid Cancer: Gene Mutation and Morphology of Follicular Cell Carcinomas

Misa Nakamura, Yaqiong Li, Zhiyan Liu and Kennichi Kakudo

Abstract

Thyroid carcinoma is the most prevalent type of endocrine cancer and its incidence has reportedly increased significantly over the last few decades in many areas of the world. The traditional classification of thyroid carcinoma divides it into four common types, including papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic carcinomas. In recent years, much progress has been made regarding the molecular characterization of these carcinomas, clarifying the genetic alterations underlying the histotype diversity of these types of cancer. The most common mutations in thyroid cancer are point mutations of the BRAF, RAS, p53 and β-catenin genes, and RET/PTC and PAX8-PPARγ rearrangements. Many of these mutations, particularly those leading to activation of the MAPK pathway, are being actively explored as therapeutic targets for thyroid cancer. In this review we have summarized these specific genetic changes in the process of development and dedifferentiation in thyroid cancer derived from thyroid follicular cells.

Total Pages: 120-137 (18)

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