Thyroid stimulating hormone increases iodine uptake by thyroid cancer cells during BRAF silencing

Academic Article


  • Background: The BRAFV600E mutation is present in 62% of radioactive iodine-resistant thyroid tumors and is associated with downregulation of the sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) and thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHr). We sought to evaluate the combined effect of BRAF inhibition and TSH supplementation on 131I uptake of BRAF V600E-mutant human thyroid cancer cells. Materials and methods: WRO cells (a BRAFV600E-mutant follicular-derived papillary thyroid carcinoma cell line) were transfected with small interfering RNA targeting BRAF for 72 h in a physiological TSH environment. NIS and TSHr expression were then evaluated at three levels: gene expression, protein levels, and 131I uptake. These three main outcomes were then reassessed in TSH-depleted media and media supplemented with supratherapeutic concentrations of TSH. Results: NIS gene expression increased 5.5-fold 36 h after transfection (P = 0.01), and TSHr gene expression increased 2.8-fold at 24 h (P = 0.02). NIS and TSHr protein levels were similarly increased 48 and 24 h after transfection, respectively. Seventy-two hours after BRAF inhibition, 131I uptake was unchanged in TSH-depleted media, increased by 7.5-fold (P < 0.01) in physiological TSH media, and increased by 9.1-fold (P < 0.01) in supratherapeutic TSH media. Conclusions: The combined strategy of BRAF inhibition and TSH supplementation results in greater 131I uptake than when either technique is used alone. This represents a simple and feasible approach that may improve outcomes in patients with radioactive iodine-resistant thyroid carcinomas for which current treatment algorithms are ineffective.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 19121656
  • Author List

  • Kleiman DA; Buitrago D; Crowley MJ; Beninato T; Veach AJ; Zanzonico PB; Jin M; Fahey TJ; Zarnegar R
  • Start Page

  • 85
  • End Page

  • 93
  • Volume

  • 182
  • Issue

  • 1