A new discovery reveals a new cause of thyroid cancer. Researchers say in 70 percent of papillary thyroid tumors, one of three genetic changes happen. The genes affected include BRAF, RET or RAS. When patients have not been exposed to radiation, the changes generally happen with the BRAF gene. However, in patients who are exposed to radiation the gene changes occur in the RET gene. In both cases, the gene changes or mutations transform normal cells into malignant cells.
A recent study has uncovered a novel gene mutation , researchers say part of the AKAP9 gene and the BRAF gene are involved. The fusion of these genes results in BRAF signaling normal cells to transform into malignant cells. This is a new discovery of cause for patients with thyroid tumors.
Researchers conclude saying the discovery of the chromosomal rearrangement is remarkable and they add that their findings represent a major breakthrough in the knowledge of genetic events involved in the cause of papillary thyroid tumors.