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This article is the author's final published version in Acta medica academica, Volume 50, Issue 1, April 2021, Pages 4 - 12.

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Copyright © 2021 by Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


OBJECTIVE: Mutations in the EIF1AX gene have been recently detected in a small percentage of benign and malignant thyroid lesions. We sought to investigate the prevalence and clinical significance of EIF1AX mutations and co-mutations in cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules at our institution.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A 5-year retrospective analysis was performed on thyroid nodules with a cytologic diagnosis of Bethesda category III or IV, which had undergone testing by our in-house next generation sequencing panel. Surgically resected nodules with EIF1AX mutations were identified, and mutation type and presence of co-mutations were correlated with histopathologic diagnosis.

RESULTS: 41/904 (4.5%) cases overall and 26/229 (11.4%) surgically resected nodules harbored an EIF1AX mutation. The most common histologic diagnoses were follicular thyroid carcinoma and follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma. 11/26 (42.3%) of nodules had isolated EIF1AX mutation. Comutations were found in RAS (12/26; 46.2%), TERT (5/26; 19.2%) and TP53 (2/26; 7.7%). EIF1AX mutation alone conferred a 36.4% risk of malignancy (ROM) and 54.5% ROM or noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP), while the ROM was significantly higher in nodules with concurrent RAS (71.4%), TERT, TP53 and RAS+TERT (100%) mutations.

CONCLUSION: EIF1AX mutations occur in benign and malignant follicular thyroid neoplasms. In our cohort, the majority of mutations occurred at the splice acceptor site between exons 5 and 6. Importantly, the coexistence of EIF1AX mutations with other driver pathogenic mutations in RAS, TERT and TP53 conferred a 100% ROM or NIFTP, indicating that such nodules require surgical removal.

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