Molecular detection of thyroglobulin mRNA transcripts in peripheral blood of patients with thyroid disease by RT-PCR

  • The sensitive detection of circulating tumour cells in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer may precede the detection of relapse by other diagnostic studies – such as serum thyroglobulin – and thus may have important therapeutic and prognostic implications. We performed reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on blood samples from patients diagnosed with thyroid disease using two different RT-PCR sensitivities. Additionally, tissue specificity of TG mRNA-expression was determined using RNA extracts from 27 different human tissues. The lower limit of detection was 50–100 TG mRNA producing cells/ml blood using a ‘normal’ RT-PCR sensitivity and 10–20 cells/ml blood using a ‘high’ sensitivity. With the normal sensitivity TG mRNA was detected in 9/13 patients with thyroid cancer and metastasis, 63/137 patients with a history of thyroid cancer and no metastasis, 21/85 with non-malignant thyroid disease and 9/50 controls. With the high sensitivity TG mRNA was detected in 11/13 patients with thyroid cancer and metastasis, 111/137 patients with a history of thyroid cancer and no metastasis, 61/85 with non-malignant thyroid disease and 41/50 controls. Interestingly, using the normal RT-PCR sensitivity TG mRNA transcripts are specific for thyroid tissue and detectable in the peripheral blood of controls and patients with thyroid disease, which correlates with a diagnosis of metastasized thyroid cancer. However, with a high RT-PCR sensitivity, TG mRNA expression was found not to be specific for thyroid tissue and was not correlated with a diagnosis of thyroid cancer in patients. As a consequence, to date TG mRNA detected by RT-PCR in the peripheral blood cannot be recommended as a tumour marker superior to TG serum-level.

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Author:Jörg BojungaGND, Sandra Johanna Röddiger, Michael Stanisch, Klaus Kusterer, Ralf Kurek, Heiner Renneberg, Stefan Adams, Elmar Lindhorst, Klaus-Henning Usadel, Petra-Maria Schumm-Draeger
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):British journal of cancer
Publisher:Churchill Livingstone
Place of publication:Edinburgh
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2000
Date of first Publication:2000/04/21
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/03/05
Tag:molecular diagnostics; polymerase chain reaction; reverse transcription; thyroglobulin mRNA; thyroid cancer
Page Number:6
First Page:1650
Last Page:1655
From twelve months after its original publication, this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Keine kommerzielle Nutzung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen