Purpose: To determine the instability of microsatellite sequences in post-C
hernobyl thyroid tumours from children and young adults, and to ascertain w
hether they correlated with the age of the patient at the time of the accid
ent and the tumour latency period.
Materials and methods: The stability of 26 microsatellite markers was inves
tigated in 122 radiation-associated thyroid tumours (96 children, 26 adults
) from Belarus and 39 spontaneous thyroid tumours (adults) from Munich with
out radiation history.
Results: A significant correlation between patient age at the time of the a
ccident and the instability of microsatellite sequences was established. Al
so, a high instability of microsatellite sequences was found in 28 early th
yroid tumours from Belarus with latency periods of 6-8 years, in contrast t
o a low instability of microsatellites in 91 tumours emerging 9-11 years af
ter the accident. Microsatellite instability in the reference group from Mu
nich proved similar to the early thyroid tumours from Belarus.
Conclusion: Early, fast-growing and aggressive post-Chernobyl thyroid tumou
rs are characterized by an increase in microsatellite instability.