Analysis of BRAFV600E mutation and DNA methylation improves the diagnostics of thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsies

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Abstract

Background: Thyroid nodules with indeterminate cytological features on fine needle aspiration biopsy specimens (FNABs) have a ~20% risk of thyroid cancer. BRAFV600E mutation and DNA methylation are useful markers to distinguish malignant thyroid neoplasm from benign. The aim of this study was to determine whether combined detection of BRAFV600E mutation and methylation markers on FNABs could improve the diagnostic accuracy of thyroid cancer.Methods: Using pyrosequencing and quantitative methylation-specific PCR (Q-MSP) methods, FNABs from 79 and 38 patients with thyroid nodules in training and test groups, respectively, were analyzed for BRAFV600E mutation and gene methylation.Results: BRAFV600E mutation was found in 30/42 (71.4%) and 14/20 (70%) FNABs in training and test groups, respectively. All BRAFV600E-positive samples were histologically diagnosed as papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) after thyroidectomy. As expected, BRAF mutation was not found in all benign nodules. Moreover, we demonstrated that the five genes, including CALCA, DAPK1, TIMP3, RAR-beta and RASSF1A, were aberrantly methylated in FNABs. Of them, methylation level of DAPK1 in PTCs was significantly higher than that in benign samples (P <0.0001). Conversely, methylation level of RASSF1A in PTCs was significantly lower than that in benign samples (P =0.003). Notably, compared with BRAF mutation testing alone, combined detection of BRAF mutation and methylation markers increased the diagnostic sensitivity and accuracy of PTC with excellent specificity.Conclusion: Our data have demonstrated that combine analysis of BRAF mutation and DNA methylation markers on FNABs may be a useful strategy to facilitate the diagnosis of malignant thyroid neoplasm, particularly PTC.Virtual slides: The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/6080878071149177. © 2014 Zhang et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Zhang, B., Liu, S., Zhang, Z., Wei, J., Qu, Y., Wu, K., … Shi, B. (2014). Analysis of BRAFV600E mutation and DNA methylation improves the diagnostics of thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsies. Diagnostic Pathology, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-1596-9-45

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