Nonsyndromic familial non-medullary thyroid cancer (FNMTC) represents 3–9% of thyroid cancers, but the susceptibility gene(s) remain unknown. We designed this multicenter study to analyze families with nonsyndromic FNMTC and identify candidate susceptibility genes. We performed exome sequencing of DNA from four affected individuals from one kindred, with five cases of nonsyndromic FNMTC. Single Nucleotide Variants, and insertions and deletions that segregated with all the affected members, were analyzed by Sanger sequencing in 44 additional families with FNMTC (37 with two affected members, and seven with three or more affected members), as well as in an independent control group of 100 subjects. We identified the germline variant p. Asp31His in NOP53
gene (rs78530808, MAF 1.8%) present in all affected members in three families with nonsyndromic FNMTC, and not present in unaffected spouses. Our functional studies of NOP53
in thyroid cancer cell lines showed an oncogenic function. Immunohistochemistry exhibited increased NOP53 protein expression in tumor samples from affected family members, compared with normal adjacent thyroid tissue. Given the relatively high frequency of the variant in the general population, these findings suggest that instead of a causative gene, NOP53
is likely a low-penetrant gene implicated in FNMTC, possibly a modifier.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited