Thyroid carcinomas that harbor RET/PTC oncogenes are well differentiated, relatively benign neoplasms compared with those expressing oncogenic RAS or BRAF mutations despite signaling through shared transforming pathways. A distinction, however, is that RET/PTCs induce immunostimulatory programs, suggesting that, in the case of this tumor type, the additional pro-inflammatory pathway reduces aggressiveness. Here, we demonstrate that pro-inflammatory programs are selectively activated by TRAF2 and TRAF6 association with RET/PTC oncoproteins. Eliminating this mechanism reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production without decreasing transformation efficiency. Conversely, ablating MEK/ERK or PI3K/AKT signaling eliminates transformation but not pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion. Functional uncoupling of the two pathways demonstrates that intrinsic pro-inflammatory pathways are not required for cellular transformation and suggests a need for further investigation into the role inflammation plays in thyroid tumor progression.
Recommended CitationWixted, Josephine H.F.; Rothstein, Jay L.; and Eisenlohr, Laurence C., "Identification of Functionally Distinct TRAF Proinflammatory and PI3K/MEK Transforming Activities Emanating from the RET/PTC Fusion Oncoprotein" (2012). Kimmel Cancer Center Faculty Papers. Paper 16.