Thyroid Cancer Research Unit
Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine

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 Revolution in Cancer Research Starting from Thyroid
Our group first presented gene expression profile in thyroid carcinoma and proposed a novel theory of carcinogenesis, fetal cell carcinogenesis in 2000. Now many researchers regard this theory as a pioneer in fetal cell research in the next generation. We establised Aspiration Biopsy Nucleic Acid Dianosis (ABND) using TFF3-based analysis, which is now regarded as the most promising method in diagnosing follicular thyroid carcinoma. Our present main project is to establish a new analysis system, FACS-mQ in which stem cells or cancer initiating cells are analyzed efficiently and easily.

Fetal Cell Carcinogenesis
Thyroid tumors are derived directly from fetal thyroid cells

Recent clinical evidences that support fetal cell carcinogenesis
1. Korean's thyroid cancer "Epidemic"
Preventive surgical resection of small carcinomas did not decrease cancer mortality, which suggested that small carcinomas do not progress to cause cancer death.
2. Fukushima Health Management Survey
Thyroid cancer was found in 1/2700 children, which suggested that the prevalence of juvinalle thyroid caner is high.
3. Observation trials of papillary microcarcinoma (PMC)
1) It takes decades for PMCs to grow. 2 ) PMCs in youger patients grow faster. 3) No patient died from thyroid cancer during the trails. These data suggested that initiation of thyroid cancer is during the infantile period, and PMCs do not progress to cause cancer death.

For more information, access the free PDF:

Natural history of thyroid cancers. Endocr J 64:237-244, 2017


Toru Takano MD Associate Professor

Rieko Nakatani
Haruka Fukano
Shiori Nakagawa
Yume Fujita


Fetal cell carcinogenesis:@
1) Fetal cell carcinogenesis of the thyroid:A modified theory based on recent evedinces. Endocr J 61:311-320.,2014
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2) The basic theory of fetal cell carcinogenesis of the thyroid. J Basic Clin Med 3: 6-11, 2014.
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3) Molecular classification of thyroid tumor: A proposal based on fetal cell carcinogenesis hypothesis. J Basic Clin Med 4: 81-86, 2015.
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TFF3-based diagnosis:
Trefoil Factor 3 (TFF3): A promising indicator for diagnosing thyroid follicular carcinoma. Endocr J 56: 9-16, 2009.
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Expression analysis of stemness genes in a rat thyroid cell lince FRTL-5. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 123: 48-54, 2015.

[Past presentations in international conferences]
1) Toru Takano: Preoperative molecular diagnosis of thyroid nodule: How does it help? (Lecture)
The 3rd Asian Masterclass of Thyroid Cancer, Taipei, Taiwan, 2014
2) Toru Takano: Fetal cell carcinogenesis: present status and future prospect (Symposium)
The 21st International Symposium on Molecular Thyroidology, Osaka Japan, 2014
3) Toru Takano: Molecular-based classification of thyroid tumor for the use of pre-and post operative diagnoses (Lecture)
The 4th Asian master class of Thyroid Cancer, Hong Kong, China, 2015
4) Toru Takano: Fetal cell carcinogenesis of the thyroid (Symposium)
2015Annual Autumn Meeting of Korean Endocrine Society, Busan, Korea, 2015