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Secrets of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer's global prevalence is soaring, demanding innovative diagnostic and therapeutic breakthroughs. Recent advances in transcriptomics and proteomics have shed light on the genetic landscape of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), revealing potential molecular markers and therapeutic targets. A recent study by researchers at the Department of Clinical Nutrition (China) highlights advances in transcriptomics and proteomics in differentiated thyroid cancer and provides an updated perspective.

Join us as we explore how high-throughput sequencing and mass spectrometry technologies are revolutionizing our understanding of DTC, offering new perspectives for precise diagnosis and treatment in the era of precision medicine. Discover the latest findings that hold the key to improving clinical outcomes for thyroid cancer patients worldwide.

Decoding Thyroid Cancer: Unveiling Novel Insights through Transcriptomics and Proteomics

Thyroid cancer (TC) is a prevalent endocrine malignancy globally, with its incidence on the rise at an alarming rate of 20% annually and a mortality rate of 1.1% per year. Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) account for over 95% of all TC cases, leading to an urgent need for improved diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. The completion of the Human Genome Project marked the beginning of the post-genomic era, introducing functional genomics to uncover the genome's functions and regulatory mechanisms. This transition eventually led to the precision medicine era, utilizing omics technologies to delve into the molecular basis of human cancers, including differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC).

Transcriptomics and proteomics involve the comprehensive study of gene tran‑ scription or proteins in living organisms. The vast amount of data generated by high‑throughput transcriptome sequencing enables the identification of gene‑specific characteristics by analyzing genes correlated with phenotypic information. By contrast, proteomics, as a functional translation of the genome, offers direct insight into the mechanisms that instigate pathogenic effects at the genomic level.
Yang, S., Zhu, G., He, R., Fang, D., & Feng, J. (2023). Advances in transcriptomics and proteomics in differentiated thyroid cancer: An updated perspective (Review). Oncology Letters, 26, 396.

The Genetic Landscape of DTC and the Role of Transcriptomics

DTC is primarily a genetic disease influenced by complex molecular and environmental factors. Recent advancements in transcriptomics-based sequencing analysis have revolutionized our understanding of DTC. This approach has identified potential molecular markers for DTC, ranging from pathogenic risk and early diagnosis to metastasis, progression, prognosis prediction, and therapeutic targets. The integration of high-throughput transcriptome sequencing has unveiled gene-specific characteristics associated with phenotypic traits, enabling more precise diagnosis and therapeutic decisions.

Subtyping DTC for Improved Classification and Diagnosis

Transcriptomics has facilitated the classification of DTC into distinct molecular subtypes based on gene expression levels. The initial study by the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) in 2014 classified PTC into two main subtypes: BRAF-like (BVL) and RAS-like (RL), characterized by BRAF or RAS mutations, respectively. Further research introduced a third subtype, non-BRAF-non-RAS (NBNR), and proposed a fourth subtype, ATC-like (AL), known for its highly invasive and fatal nature. These molecular subtypes have provided valuable insights into cell signaling and differentiation characteristics, enhancing pathological classification and diagnosis.

Challenges and Advances in Radioactive Iodine Refractory (RAIR) DTC

RAIR-DTC remains a significant challenge in treatment, and research in this area has been limited due to its complexity and heterogeneity. However, recent studies have explored potential molecular markers and therapeutic targets for RAIR-DTC, including the APOBEC SBS13 mutation and fusion-targeted therapies for pediatric RAIR-DTC. While promising, large-scale validation is essential to translate these findings into clinical practice effectively.

The Impact of Proteomics in DTC Diagnosis and Treatment

Advancements in mass spectrometry techniques have revolutionized proteomics research in DTC. Proteomics has played a crucial role in diagnosing indeterminate thyroid nodules, predicting diagnosis and prognosis, and identifying therapeutic targets. Mass spectrometry imaging has allowed precise determination of protein levels within tissues, aiding in accurate classification of indeterminate lesions and distinguishing various types of thyroid malignancies.

Potential Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets

Proteomics has identified potential biomarkers for DTC diagnosis and prognostication, including upregulated mitochondrial proteins in follicular carcinoma. Serum samples have also been studied, leading to the identification of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for PTC. Proteomics research has also provided insights into the biological activities of serum exosomes during lymph node metastasis in PTC.


Recent advancements in transcriptomics and proteomics have significantly advanced our understanding of DTC at the molecular level. These cutting-edge technologies offer new perspectives for diagnosis and treatment, holding immense promise for improving clinical diagnostics and therapies for thyroid cancer. However, further research and validation are crucial to effectively translate these findings into practical clinical applications. As we continue to unravel the complexities of DTC, the era of precision medicine brings hope for better patient outcomes and a more personalized approach to managing this prevalent endocrine malignancy.

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