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Open access

Taha Ulutan Kars, Mustafa Kulaksizoglu, and İbrahim Kılınç

Objective: Thyroid cancer can be detected in 5–10% of patients with thyroid nodules. Management may be a challenge if fine-needle aspiration biopsy yields Bethesda III findings. Most of these cases undergo surgery and are ultimately found benign. Our aim was to evaluate whether serum osteopontin can accurately estimate thyroid cancer risk in cases with cytologically Bethesda III thyroid nodules and, thereby, decrease the number of unnecessary surgical interventions.

Design and Methods: We obtained blood samples of cases with repeated cytologically Bethesda III thyroid nodules before surgery, and followed up the pathology results after thyroidectomy. We evaluated serum osteopontin from 36 patients with papillary thyroid cancer and compared them with 40 benign cases.

Results: Serum osteopontin levels in patients with papillary thyroid cancer are significantly higher than in benign cases (mean serum osteopontin: 10.48 ± 3.51 ng/mL vs 6.14 ± 2.29 ng/mL, p<0.001). The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve was 0.851, suggesting that serum osteopontin could have considerable discriminative performance.

Conclusions: In our preliminary study, high serum osteopontin levels can predict the risk of papillary thyroid cancer in thyroid nodules with Bethesda III cytology. Further studies are necessary to confirm these findings.

Open access

Sarah Craus and Mark Gruppetta

Background: Despite being benign tumours, craniopharyngiomas are challenging to manage and can cause significant morbidity and mortality in both the paediatric and adult population. The aim of the study was to analyse epidemiology of craniopharyngioma, patient and tumour characteristics through a population-based study in Malta, enabling a better quantification of the disease burden.

Method: A thorough research was carried out to identify the number of patients who were diagnosed with craniopharyngiomas. Epidemiological data, including both Standardised incidence rates (SIR) and prevalence rates were established in a well-defined population. For incidence estimates, patients who were diagnosed between 2008 and 2019 were included. The background population formed 4.8 million patient-years at risk.

Result: 29 subjects were identified and included in our study. The overall SIR was 0.3/100,000/year, with a higher SIR for males compared to females (0.4/100,000/year and 0.2/100,000/year, respectively). The highest SIR was recorded in the 10-19 year age group. The estimated prevalence rate amounted to 5.27/100,000 people, with a lower prevalence rate for childhood onset when compared to the adult-onset category (2.03/100,000 vs 3.24/100,000 people). The median longest tumour diameter was 31.0mm (IQR 21-41), with statistically significant difference between childhood- and adult-onset disease; 43.0mm (IQR 42.5-47.25) vs 27.0mm (IQR 20.55-31.55) (P=0.011).

Conclusion: Through this population-based study, accurate and up-to-date prevalence and incidence rates for craniopharyngiomas are reported. These provide a clearer reflection of the true health burden of the disease.

Open access

Patrick W Owens, Terri Patricia McVeigh, Nicola Miller, Carole Guerin, Frederic Sebag, Denis Quill, Marcia Bell, Michael Kerin, and Aoife J Lowery

Objective: FOXE1 is an intronless gene on chromosome 9 which plays a significant role in thyroid morphogenesis. Mutations in FOXE1 are associated with thyroid phenotypes including congenital hypothyroidism, thyroid dysgenesis and thyroid cancer. This study aims to investigate the frequency and impact of a single nucleotide polymorphism(rs965513, G>A) at 9q22.23 in a Western European cohort of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer(DTC), compared to controls.

Design: This is a candidate gene case control study.

Methods: 277 patients with histologically confirmed DTC were recruited from tertiary referral centres in Ireland and France. 309 cancer-free controls were recruited from the community. DNA was extracted from buccal swabs or whole blood of control subjects and patients with DTC. Allelic and genotypic frequencies among patients were compared with controls, to assess the risk for disease conferred by homozygous and heterozygous carriers compared to wild-type genotypes. Genotyping was performed using Taqman-based PCR.

Results: 277 patients with confirmed DTC and 309 non-cancer controls were genotyped. The frequency of the minor allele among cases was 0.45 compared to 0.34 among controls. The genotypic odds ratio for heterozygotes was 1.66(CI 1.16-2.39, p=0.00555), increasing to 2.93(CI 1.70-5.05, p=0.00007) for rare homozygotes. All subjects were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium(X2, p=0.09, p=0.07 respectively).

Conclusions: This FOXE1 polymorphism is a low penetrance variant associated with DTC susceptibility in this cohort. The minor allele was identified among patients with thyroid cancer significantly more frequently than controls. An allele dosage effect was observed, with rare homozygous genotypes conferring greater risk than heterozygotes.

Open access

Edward P Gelmann