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27-01-2016 | Endocrine cancers | Article

Clinical utility of RAS mutations in thyroid cancer: a blurred picture now emerging clearer

BMC Medicine

Author: Mingzhao Xing

Publisher: BioMed Central


RAS mutations play an important role in thyroid tumorigenesis. Considerable effort has been made in the last decade to apply RAS mutations as molecular markers to the clinical management of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Yet, for the low diagnostic sensitivities and specificities of RAS mutations, when used alone, and for their uncertain role in the clinical outcomes of thyroid cancer, it has been unclear how to appropriately use them to assist the management of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Studies from recent years, now added from the Alexander group, have shed light on this issue, making a blurred clinical picture now emerge clearer—RAS mutations, when combined with other genetic markers, have high diagnostic negative predictive values for thyroid cancer; cytologically benign thyroid nodules, including those positive for RAS mutations, have long-term clinical stability when non-surgically managed; and differentiated thyroid cancers harboring RAS mutations alone have an excellent prognosis. This progress in understanding RAS mutations in thyroid cancer is showing a major impact on molecular-based practice in the management of thyroid cancer.

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