Relevance of RET proto-oncogene mutations in sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma

Nelson Wohllk, Gilbert J. Cote, Maria M.J. Bugalho, Nelson Ordonez, Douglas B. Evans, Helmuth Goepfert, Sangeeta Khorana, Pamela Schultz, C. Sue Richards, Robert F. Gagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


Analysis of peripheral blood or tumor DNA samples from 101 patients with apparent sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) was performed to assess the frequency of RET proto-oncogene mutations in this patient population. Peripheral blood and/or tumor DNA was amplified by polymerase chain reaction. DNA sequence or restriction enzyme analysis was performed to detect mutations of RET proto-oncogene codons 609, 611, 618, 620, 634, 768, and 918. Six of 101 patients with apparent sporadic MTC had peripheral blood DNA mutations more commonly associated with hereditary MTC. In 4 patients, these mutations led to the identification of previously unrecognized kindreds. The remaining 2 patients were examples of de novo mutations. A codon 918 mutation was found in 14 of 57 (~25%) tumor DNA samples. Mutations were not identified in the remaining patients. In this large cancer center population, ~6%, of patients with sporadic MTC carry peripheral blood DNA mutations, either inherited or de novo, more commonly associated with MEN 2A or familial MTC. Seven additional gene carriers were identified as a direct result of these studies, a 2 fold multiplying effect. We conclude routine application of RET proto- oncogene testing should be included in all cases of apparent sporadic MTC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3740-3745
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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