Standard immunohistochemistry efficiently screens for anaplastic lymphoma kinase rearrangements in differentiated thyroid cancer.

Research paper by Gahee G Park, Tae Hyuk TH Kim, Hae-Ock HO Lee, Jung Ah JA Lim, Jae-Kyung JK Won, Hye Sook HS Min, Kyu Eun KE Lee, Do Joon do J Park, Young Joo YJ Park, Woong-Yang WY Park

Indexed on: 21 Dec '14Published on: 21 Dec '14Published in: Endocrine-related cancer


The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene is frequently rearranged in various types of cancer and is highly responsive to targeted therapeutics. We developed a system to detect rearrangement of ALK in a large group of Korean thyroid cancer patients. We screened 474 malignant or benign thyroid tumor cases to identify ALK fusions. Expression and translocation of the ALK gene were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and digital multiplexed gene expression (DMGE) analysis in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. Four cases of rearrangement of ALK were detected by IHC, and these cases were validated with FISH on 189 samples. On the other hand, DMGE analysis using Nanostring detected three out of four IHC-positive cases. Two rearrangements of ALK were striatin (STRN)-ALK fusions, which were identified by 5' RACE analysis. Rearrangements of ALK were found exclusively in v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B (BRAF) WT papillary carcinomas. Given the wide availability and accuracy of IHC for detecting ectopic expression of ALK in the thyroid, we suggest that IHC-based screening can be a practical method for identifying patients with ALK rearrangements in differentiated thyroid cancer.