Clinical, ultrasound and molecular characterization of thyroid nodules
Universita degli Studi di Ferrara
Department of Medical Sciences, via Fossato di Mortara, 64 – 44100 Ferrara, Italy
Prof Maria Chiara Zatelli
Prof Maria Chiara Zatelli
English; Italian
4 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
No No No Yes Yes No No No No No No No
Type of Research Project
- Clinical Project with Laboratory work
What is the background of the project?
Thyroid nodules are very frequent in the general population. Epidemiological data report that thyroid nodule prevalence in Italy ranges from 5 to 60%. Only a minority will cause significant harm to the patient. Indeed, the Italian Cancer Registry reports that only 5% of thyroid nodules has a malignant nature. However, differentiating nodules with a very good prognosis from those that will lead to a reduction in quality of life and survival is very difficult in some cases. International scientific societies provide guidelines to assess thyroid nodule malignancy risk on the basis of patient history, ultrasound characteristics and cytology reports, but ~20% of thyroid nodules remain indeterminate. The clinical management of patients with indeterminate thyroid nodules is a very debated issue.
What is the aim of the project?
The project aims at collecting and evaluating clinical, ultrasound and molecular characteristics of thyroid nodules in order to better differentiate benign from malignant nodules pre-operatively.
What techniques and methods are used?
Clinical examination, neck ultrasound (US), cytology review and molecular diagnostics. In particular, patients with thyroid nodules will be submitted to Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy and the cells contained in the syringe wash out will be submitted to DNA isolation by using an automated robot (Qiacube) and dedicated kits. Somatic DNA will then be used in a real time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) that will be performed on a dedicated quantitative PCR machine, and results will be evaluated by a dedicated software. Steps of the project. 1) Recruit patients with thyroid nodules undergoing FNA in our outpatient care 2) Collect clinical, US, cytological and, where possible, histological information 3) Fill in the dedicated database 4) Analyse the data and evaluate possible correlations between the indicated variables and thyroid cytology/histology 5) Provide pre-surgical information to facilitate clinicians in managing thyroid nodules, avoiding unnecessary invasive diagnostic procedures for the patients, where possible
What is the role of the student?
- If the project includes “lab work”
- the student will take active part in the practical aspect of the project
- If the project is clinical
- the student will be allowed to work with patients
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Understand the diagnostic path of thyroid nodules; interpret thyroid ultrasound and cytology reports; perform molecular diagnostics involved in thyroid nodule diagnosis. In particular, the student will participate in the following procedures: 1) DNA isolation from thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsies (FNAB); 2) quantitative PCR preparation by using CE-IVD kits and instruments to detect BRAF (proto-oncogene) and RAS (oncogene) somatic mutations in FNAB (fine-needle biopsy) material; 3) data plotting and interpretation by using dedicated software; 4) report preparation and discussion. All these procedures will be performed under the supervision of a tutor.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
The student will follow a tutor in the Lab, The tutor, a skilled professional in the Lab, will teach the student and provide texts, literature and notes to improve the student’s knowledge on the project matter.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
General endocrine knowledge on thryoid diseases.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- 1: Damiani L; Lupo S; Rossi R; Bruni S; Bartolomei M; Panareo S; Franceschetti P; Carcoforo P; Lanza G; Pelucchi S; Degli Uberti E; Zatelli MC. Evaluation of the Role of BRAFV600E Somatic Mutation on Papillary Thyroid Cancer Disease Persistence: A Prospective Study. Eur Thyroid J. 2018 Oct;7(5):251-257.
- 2: Rossi M; Lupo S; Rossi R; Franceschetti P; Trasforini G; Bruni S; Tagliati F; Buratto M; Lanza G; Damiani L; Degli Uberti E; Zatelli MC. Proposal for a novel management of indeterminate thyroid nodules on the basis of cytopathological subclasses. Endocrine. 2017 Jul;57(1):98-107.
- 3: Rossi M; Buratto M; Tagliati F; Rossi R; Lupo S; Trasforini G; Lanza G; Franceschetti P; Bruni S; Degli Uberti E; Zatelli MC. Relevance of BRAF(V600E) mutation testing versus RAS point mutations and RET/PTC rearrangements evaluation in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2015 Feb;25(2):221-8.
- 4: Rossi M; Buratto M; Bruni S; Filieri C; Tagliati F; Trasforini G; Rossi R; Beccati MD; Degli Uberti EC; Zatelli MC. Role of ultrasonographic/clinical profile; cytology; and BRAF V600E mutation evaluation in thyroid nodule screening for malignancy: a prospective study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jul;97(7):2354-61.
- 5: Zatelli MC; Trasforini G; Leoni S; Frigato G; Buratto M; Tagliati F; Rossi R; Cavazzini L; Roti E; degli Uberti EC. BRAF V600E mutation analysis increases diagnostic accuracy for papillary thyroid carcinoma in fine-needle aspiration biopsies. Eur J Endocrinol. 2009 Sep;161(3):467-73.