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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

RET polymorphisms and sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma in a Portuguese population.

The genetic basis of the sporadic form of medullary thyroid carcinoma, derived from "C" cells, is still poorly understood. Somatic mutations of RET proto-oncogene have been reported at a variable frequency ranging from 23% to 69%. The hypothesis that low penetrance factors, such as polymorphisms, might contribute to the phenotype of this neoplasm has been addressed in a few studies conducting to conflicting results. Herein, we studied 100 individuals (50 patients and 50 controls) aiming to compare the frequencies of G691S, L769L, S836S, and S904S RET polymorphisms observed in patients with respect to controls. Furthermore, meta-analysis of published studies including the present results was conducted. To test the contributory role of the above polymorphisms for the development of "C"-cell hyperplasia, we studied a group of 10 individuals selected for having a positive pentagastrin test despite the absence of a RET germline mutation. An over-representation of the G691S polymorphism, particularly in females, was observed in patients with respect to controls, although not reaching the level of significance. Allelic frequencies of the other three polymorphisms were not different in patients and controls. Results obtained in the admittedly small group of individuals with a positive pentagastrin test are unlikely to support a major influence of any polymorphism in the development of "C"-cell hyperplasia. The meta-analysis provided evidence for a significant association of the S691 allele with MTC (odds ratio 1.54, 95% confidence interval 1.12-2.12, p=0.008) and found no significant associations for the other polymorphisms.[1]


  1. RET polymorphisms and sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma in a Portuguese population. Costa, P., Domingues, R., Sobrinho, L.G., Bugalho, M.J. Endocrine (2005) [Pubmed]
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