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Acta Cytol. 2011;55(6):576-83. doi: 10.1159/000333453. Epub 2011 Dec 9.

Allele-specific PCR with competitive probe blocking for sensitive and specific detection of BRAF V600E in thyroid fine-needle aspiration specimens.

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ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology®, ARUP Laboratories, Inc., and Department of Pathology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.



To detect BRAF V600E mutation in thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA) slides and needle rinses (NR).


Tumor-enriched DNA was extracted from FNA smears, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) sections, or NR specimens from 37 patients with confirmed papillary thyroid carcinoma or benign findings. An allele-specific primer selectively amplified the 1799 T>A BRAF mutation while simultaneously blocking amplification of wild-type (WT) BRAF with an unlabeled probe during PCR. Mutation detection was accomplished by melting analysis of the probe.


Allele-specific/blocking probe PCR confirmed the BRAF mutation status for 20 of 24 paired FNA/FFPE samples previously tested by fluorescent probe real-time PCR. For the other 4 cases, the sensitive PCR method detected the BRAF mutation in all paired FNA/FFPE samples. Previously, the mutation had been detected in only the FFPE samples. The BRAF mutation was also detected in some NR specimens.


Treatment of patients with thyroid nodules is guided by FNA biopsy, which can be scantly cellular, necessitating a sensitive test that can detect low levels of BRAF V600E mutation in a WT background. We report increased detection of BRAF V600E in FNA specimens using allele-specific/blocking probe PCR, which has an analytical sensitivity of 0.01%.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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