The relationship between chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (CLT) and papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is a subject of controversy. Some investigators suggest a causal relationship, whereas others regard the two as only a coincidental occurrence. An additional complicating factor is the presence of atypical nuclei frequently found within lymphoid infiltrates in CLT, which resemble those in PTC. The finding of the RET-PTC translocations in CLT has been reported by two independent groups of investigators, suggesting that the areas of nuclear atypia in CLT are neoplastic rather than reactive. In the present study, we report additional molecular findings that support the hypothesis that the atypical nuclear changes in CLT may be preneoplastic or neoplastic. We microdissected small areas with atypical nuclei in glands with CLT and observed loss-of-heterozygosity mutations of tumor suppressor genes. These genetic mutations are evidence of clonal preneoplastic or neoplastic changes in the follicular cells of CLT. The clinical malignant potential of these minute foci is likely to be very small but remains to be determined.
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis
- Loss of heterozygosity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism