Intracellular Signaling Mechanisms in Thyroid Cancer

July 18, 2016 -

Thyroid cancer is the most common malignancy of the endocrine system, the papillary variant accounts for 80-90% of all diagnosed cases. In the development of papillary thyroid cancer, BRAF and RAS genes are mainly affected, resulting in a modification of the system of intracellular signaling proteins known as «protein kinase mitogen-activated» (MAPK) which consist of «modules» of internal signaling proteins (Receptor/Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK) from the cell membrane to the nucleus. In thyroid cancer, these signaling proteins regulate diverse cellular processes such as differentiation, growth, development and apoptosis. MAPK play an important role in the pathogenesis of thyroid cancer as they are used as molecular biomarkers for diagnostic, prognostic and as possible therapeutic molecular targets. Mutations in BRAF gene have been correlated with poor response to treatment with traditional chemotherapy and as an indicator of poor prognosis.

To review the molecular mechanisms involved in intracellular signaling of BRAF and RAS genes in thyroid cancer.

Molecular therapy research is in progress for this type of cancer as new molecules have been developed in order to inhibit any of the components of the signaling pathway (RET/PTC)/Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK; with special emphasis on the (RET/PTC)/Ras/Raf section, which is a major effector of ERK pathway.

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