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Sule Canberk, Joana C. Ferreira, Luísa Pereira, Rui Batısta, Andre F. Vieira, Paula Soares, Manuel Sobrinho Simões, and Valdemar Máximo

Introduction: DICER1 is a member of RNase III family that has a pivotal role in the biogenesis of microRNAs, being important for normal development. Dysregulation of DICER1 has been described in different human tumours; however, there is insufficient data on the risk of thyroid cancer in the presence of germline DICER1 variants, particularly when focusing on the background of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). For this purpose, we ascertained the presence of DICER1 variants in 502 (PTC) cases available from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) research network in a well-characterized pathological context. Material and Methods: in this study we analyzed 502 samples from 502 patients, described as PTC in the TCGA database. Tumour diagnoses were re-evaluated by 2 pathologists (S.C. and M.S.-S.) on slides available from the database, and clinicopathological and demographic data was examined. Data concerning germline and sporadic DICER1 gene variants as well as frequent mutations in the genes involved in thyroid carcinogenesis (e.g., RAS and BRAFV600E) was retrieved from the database. Results and Discussion: We report 1 new germline possibly pathogenic variant, besides 15 others already been identified in ClinVar. We found that the DICER1-positive PTC group more frequently includes PTC variants, namely the oncocytic, follicular, and aggressive (hobnail variant of PTC) variants. A previous association of DICER1 had been demonstrated, mainly with the follicular variant of PTC and follicular thyroid carcinomas. Tumours harbouring germline DICER1 mutations were more frequently “bilateral” and “encapsulated.” The frequent association of DICER1 germline variants with other mutations associated with thyroid cancer can reflect an haploinsufficiency tumour suppressor gene function of DICER1, as suggested from the study of animal models.

Open access

Sofia Macedo, Ana Pestana, Liliana Santos, Celestino Neves, Susana Guimarães, Amaro Duarte-Neto, Marisa Dolhnikoff, Paulo Saldiva, Georgina Alves, Rute Oliveira, Didier Cabanes, Fátima Carneiro, Manuel Sobrinho-Simões, and Paula Soares


To understand whether thyroid cells can be directly infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and to establish a putative correlation with the expression of the host entry machinery: ACE-2, TMPRSS2, and furin.


We assessed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus at the gene level by RT-PCR, viral RNA transcripts localization by in situ hybridization, and by detecting viral proteins by immunohistochemistry for the nucleocapsid and the spike proteins. Furthermore, we also described the immunoexpression of key host factors for virus entry in the COVID-19 thyroid samples.


We performed RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 in all autopsy specimens and detected viral genome positivity in 13 of 15 thyroid tissues and in a lung specimen. In 9 of the 14 positive samples, we were also able to confirm SARS-CoV-2 signal by in situ hybridization. Immunohistochemistry for the viral nucleocapsid and spike protein was also positive for ten and nine of the RT-PCR-positive cases, respectively, but revealed a lower sensitivity. We also described, for the first time in a COVID-19 series, the immunohistochemical expression of ACE-2, TMPRSS2, and furin in the thyroid.


Our results obtained in thyroid specimens from deceased COVID-19 patients indicate that thyrocytes can be directly infected by SARS-CoV-2 since we detected the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genome in follicular cells. Nevertheless, we did not find a clear correlation between the presence of viral genome and the expression of the host factors for virus entry, namely ACE-2, TMPRSS2, and furin.