A robust biomarker of differential correlations improves the diagnosis of cytologically indeterminate thyroid cancers uri icon


  • The fine-needle aspiration of thyroid nodules and subsequent cytological analysis is unable to determine the diagnosis in 15 to 30% of thyroid cancer cases; patients with indeterminate cytological results undergo diagnostic surgery which is potentially unnecessary. Current gene expression biomarkers based on well-determined cytology are complex and their accuracy is inconsistent across public datasets. In the present study, we identified a robust biomarker using the differences in gene expression values specifically from cytologically indeterminate thyroid tumors and a powerful multivariate search tool coupled with a nearest centroid classifier. The biomarker is based on differences in the expression of the following genes: CCND1, CLDN16, CPE, LRP1B, MAGI3, MAPK6, MATN2, MPPED2, PFKFB2, PTPRE, PYGL, SEMA3D, SERGEF, SLC4A4 and TIMP1. This 15-gene biomarker exhibited superior accuracy independently of the cytology in six datasets, including The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) thyroid dataset. In addition, this biomarker exhibited differences in the correlation coefficients between benign and malignant samples that indicate its discriminatory power, and these 15 genes have been previously related to cancer in the literature. Thus, this 15-gene biomarker provides advantages in clinical practice for the effective diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

Publication date

  • May 1, 2016