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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Jun;148(6):919-25. doi: 10.1177/0194599813481942. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

Clinical significance of BRAF mutation in thyroid papillary cancer.

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  • 1ENT Department, Sant'Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.



To correlate the presence of BRAF V600E mutation with clinicopathological parameters.


Case-control study.


BRAF mutation represents the most common oncogenic event in sporadic papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). There are, however, significant discrepancies regarding the overall frequency and its relationship with clinicopathological parameters of poor outcome. We analyzed BRAF mutation in a cohort of patients affected by PTCs to identify its association with clinical variables.


We analyzed retrospectively a series of 304 patients, treated for PTC from 1999 to 2011 at Bologna University Hospital. We searched BRAF mutation by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by PCR and direct sequencing.


BRAF mutation was found in 77.4% of classical PTCs, 31.9% of the follicular variant, and 72.2% of high tall cell PTCs, being significantly associated, at univariate analysis, with recurrence, stage, multicentricity, histologic subtype, extrathyroidal extension, nodule dimension, body mass index, and American Thyroid Association (ATA) risk stratification. Furthermore, higher T, but not N or M, stage was associated with BRAF mutation. In the multivariate analysis, the BRAF mutation was significantly associated only with the ATA risk stratification, in turn showing a significant negative association with recurrence-free survival time with Cox multivariate analysis.


Our results indicate that BRAF mutation identifies a subset of PTC with increased risk of recurrence. The presence of BRAF mutation might be a valuable diagnostic and prognostic marker of the disease. To confirm the diagnostic usefulness of this marker, further studies should be carried out.


BRAF mutation; papillary thyroid cancer; prognostic markers; thyroid cancer; thyroid surgery

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