Molecular Markers for Patients with Thymic Malignancies: not Feasible at Present?


Background: Thymomas and thymic carcinomas are rare malignancies and devising clinically effectivemolecular targeted therapies is a major clinical challenge. The aim of the study was to analyze BLC2 andvascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) expression and KRAS and EGFR mutational status andto correlate them with the clinical characteristics of patients with thymomas and thymic carcinomas. Materialsand
Methods: A total of 62 patients (mean age: 50.4±13.2 years) with thymomas and thymic carcinomas wereenrolled. The expression of BLC2 and VEGFR in tumor cells and normal tissues was evaluated by RT-PCR.The mutational status of the KRAS and EGFR genes was investigated by PCR with sequence specific primers.
Results: The BLC2 and VEGFR expression levels did not differ significantly between tumor and normal tissues.Moreover, there were no clearly pathogenic mutations in KRAS or EGFR genes in any tumor. None of themolecular markers were significantly related to clinical outcomes.
Conclusions: Changes in levels of expressionof BLC2 and VEGFR do not appear to be involved in thymic tumorigenesis. Moreover, our data suggest thatKRAS and EGFR mutations do not play a major role in the pathogenesis of thymomas and thymic carcinomas.