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Virchows Arch. 2005 Jun;446(6):589-95. Epub 2005 May 19.

Type and prevalence of BRAF mutations are closely associated with papillary thyroid carcinoma histotype and patients' age but not with tumour aggressiveness.

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IPATIMUP (Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto), R. Roberto Frias s/n, 4200, Porto, Portugal.


A high prevalence of the BRAF(V600E) somatic mutation was recently reported in several series of papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC). This mutation appears to be particularly prevalent in PTC with a predominantly papillary architecture. Another BRAF mutation (K601E) was detected in a follicular adenoma and in some cases of the follicular variant of PTC. The few studies on record provided controversial data on the relationship between the occurrence of BRAF mutations and clinicopathologic parameters such as gender, age and tumour staging. In an attempt to clarify such controversies we decided to enlarge our previous series to 315 tumours or tumour-like lesions diagnosed in 280 patients, including a thorough analysis of several clinicopathologic features. The BRAF(V600E) mutation was exclusively detected in PTC with a papillary or mixed follicular/papillary architecture both of the conventional type (46%) and of other histotypes, such as microcarcinoma (43%), Warthin-like PTC (75%) and oncocytic variant of PTC (55%). The BRAF(K601E) mutation was detected in four of the 54 cases of the follicular variant of PTC (7%). The mean age of patients with conventional PTC harbouring BRAF(V600E) (46.7 years) was significantly higher (P<0.0001) than that of patients with conventional PTC without BRAF(V600E) (29.5 years). The BRAF (BRAF(V600E)) mutated PTC did not exhibit signs of higher aggressiveness (size, vascular invasion, extra-thyroid extension and nodal metastasis) and were in fact less often multicentric than PTC without the mutation.

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