This study was supported by FCT (‘Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology’) through PhD grants to Catarina Tavares (SFRH/BD/87887/2012), Ana Pestana (SFRH/BD/110617/2015), Rui Batista (SFRH/BD/111321/2015) and by a CNPq PhD grant (‘National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development’, Brazil), Science without Borders, Process n# 237322/2012-9 for Luciana Ferreira. Miguel Melo received a grant from Genzyme for the research project ‘Molecular biomarkers of prognosis and response to therapy in differentiated thyroid carcinomas’. Further funding was obtained from FEDER – Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional funds through the COMPETE 2020 – Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalization (POCI), Portugal 2020, and by Portuguese funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia/ Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação in the framework of the project ‘Institute for Research and Innovation in Health Sciences’ (POCI-01- 0145-FEDER-007274) and by the project ‘Advancing cancer research: from basic knowledgement to application’; NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000029; ‘Projetos Estruturados de I&D&I’, funded by Norte 2020-Programa Operacional Regional do Norte. This work was also financed by Sociedade Portuguesa de Endocrinologia Diabetes e Metabolismo through a grant ‘Prof. E Limbert Sociedade Portuguesa de Endocrinologia Diabetes e Metabolismo/Sanofi-Genzyme in thyroid pathology’.