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      Relationship between BRAF V600E and clinical features in papillary thyroid carcinoma

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          To investigate the mutant status of BRAF gene and analyze its relationship to epidemiological risk factors and clinical outcomes among patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) in the largest, single-institution Chinese cohort to date.


          The medical records of 2048 PTC patients were reviewed in this retrospective study. Single-factor and multiple logistic regression analyses were applied to identify risk factors for BRAF V600E mutation. Survival outcomes including distant metastatic and persistent or recurrent PTC were examined, with a mean follow-up time of 23.4 (5–47) months.


          The BRAF V600E mutation was present in 83.7% of patients (1715 of 2048). Correlation was found between BRAF V600E mutation and several epidemiological features, including age, concomitant hypertension and Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT). For the clinicopathological features, BRAF V600E was significantly associated with bilateral multifocality (odds ratio (OR) 1.233, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.063–1.431, P < 0.01) and less lateral lymph node metastases (OR 0.496, 95% CI 0.357–0.689, P < 0.01). Smaller tumor size and advanced disease stage were significant in single-factor analyses but became insignificant after multivariate adjustment. No association was found between BRAF V600E mutation and extrathyroidal invasion, distant metastatic and disease persistence or recurrence.


          Part of epidemiological features are independent risk or protective factors for BRAF V600E mutation. The presence of BRAF V600E mutation is not an aggressive prognosis on poor clinical outcomes in PTC. However, the high prevalence of BRAF V600E may provide guidance for surgery strategy and opportunity for targeted treatment in recurrent and advanced stage disease.

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          Molecular genetics and diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

          Thyroid cancer is a common type of endocrine malignancy, and its incidence has been steadily increasing in many regions of the world. Initiation and progression of thyroid cancer involves multiple genetic and epigenetic alterations, of which mutations leading to the activation of the MAPK and PI3K-AKT signaling pathways are crucial. Common mutations found in thyroid cancer are point mutation of the BRAF and RAS genes as well as RET/PTC and PAX8/PPARγ chromosomal rearrangements. The mutational mechanisms seem to be linked to specific etiologic factors. Chromosomal rearrangements have a strong association with exposure to ionizing radiation and possibly with DNA fragility, whereas point mutations probably arise as a result of chemical mutagenesis. A potential role of dietary iodine excess in the generation of BRAF point mutations has also been proposed. Somatic mutations and other molecular alterations have been recognized as helpful diagnostic and prognostic markers for thyroid cancer and are beginning to be introduced into clinical practice, to offer a valuable tool for the management of patients with thyroid nodules.
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            Association between BRAF V600E mutation and mortality in patients with papillary thyroid cancer.

            BRAF V600E is a prominent oncogene in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), but its role in PTC-related patient mortality has not been established. To investigate the relationship between BRAF V600E mutation and PTC-related mortality. Retrospective study of 1849 patients (1411 women and 438 men) with a median age of 46 years (interquartile range, 34-58 years) and an overall median follow-up time of 33 months (interquartile range, 13-67 months) after initial treatment at 13 centers in 7 countries between 1978 and 2011. Patient deaths specifically caused by PTC. Overall, mortality was 5.3% (45/845; 95% CI, 3.9%-7.1%) vs 1.1% (11/1004; 95% CI, 0.5%-2.0%) (P < .001) in BRAF V600E-positive vs mutation-negative patients. Deaths per 1000 person-years in the analysis of all PTC were 12.87 (95% CI, 9.61-17.24) vs 2.52 (95% CI, 1.40-4.55) in BRAF V600E-positive vs mutation-negative patients; the hazard ratio (HR) was 2.66 (95% CI, 1.30-5.43) after adjustment for age at diagnosis, sex, and medical center. Deaths per 1000 person-years in the analysis of the conventional variant of PTC were 11.80 (95% CI, 8.39-16.60) vs 2.25 (95% CI, 1.01-5.00) in BRAF V600E-positive vs mutation-negative patients; the adjusted HR was 3.53 (95% CI, 1.25-9.98). When lymph node metastasis, extrathyroidal invasion, and distant metastasis were also included in the model, the association of BRAF V600E with mortality for all PTC was no longer significant (HR, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.53-2.76). A higher BRAF V600E-associated patient mortality was also observed in several clinicopathological subcategories, but statistical significance was lost with adjustment for patient age, sex, and medical center. For example, in patients with lymph node metastasis, the deaths per 1000 person-years were 26.26 (95% CI, 19.18-35.94) vs 5.93 (95% CI, 2.96-11.86) in BRAF V600E-positive vs mutation-negative patients (unadjusted HR, 4.43 [95% CI, 2.06-9.51]; adjusted HR, 1.46 [95% CI, 0.62-3.47]). In patients with distant tumor metastasis, deaths per 1000 person-years were 87.72 (95% CI, 62.68-122.77) vs 32.28 (95% CI, 16.14-64.55) in BRAF V600E-positive vs mutation-negative patients (unadjusted HR, 2.63 [95% CI, 1.21-5.72]; adjusted HR, 0.84 [95% CI, 0.27-2.62]). In this retrospective multicenter study, the presence of the BRAF V600E mutation was significantly associated with increased cancer-related mortality among patients with PTC. Because overall mortality in PTC is low and the association was not independent of tumor features, how to use BRAF V600E to manage mortality risk in patients with PTC is unclear. These findings support further investigation of the prognostic and therapeutic implications of BRAF V600E status in PTC.
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              BRAF mutation predicts a poorer clinical prognosis for papillary thyroid cancer.

              Use of BRAF mutation in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) has the potential to improve risk stratification of this cancer. The objective of the study was to investigate the prognostic value of BRAF mutation in patients with PTC. In a multicenter study of 219 PTC patients, data on their clinicopathological characteristics and clinical courses between 1990 and 2004 were retrospectively collected, and their tumor BRAF mutation status was determined. Associations of BRAF mutation with initial tumor characteristics and subsequent recurrence were analyzed. Relationships between the BRAF mutation status and clinicopathological outcomes, including recurrence, were measured. We found a significant association between BRAF mutation and extrathyroidal invasion (P < 0.001), lymph node metastasis (P < 0.001), and advanced tumor stage III/IV (P = 0.007) at initial surgery. This association remained significant on multivariate analysis, adjusting for conventional clinicopathological predictors of recurrence excluding the histological PTC subtype, but was lost when the tumor subtype was included in the model. BRAF mutation was also significantly associated with tumor recurrence, 25 vs. 9% with and without mutation, respectively (P = 0.004), during a median of 15 (interquartile range, 3-29) months of follow-up. This association remained significant on multivariate analysis adjusting for conventional clinicopathological predictors of recurrence, even including the PTC subtype (odds ratio, 4.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-14.1; P = 0.03). BRAF mutation was even an independent predictor of recurrence in patients with stage I/II disease, 22 vs. 5% with and without BRAF mutation, respectively (P = 0.002). BRAF mutation was also more frequently associated with absence of tumor I-131 avidity and treatment failure of recurrent disease. In patients with PTC, BRAF mutation is associated with poorer clinicopathological outcomes and independently predicts recurrence. Therefore, BRAF mutation may be a useful molecular marker to assist in risk stratification for patients with PTC.

                Author and article information

                Endocr Connect
                Endocr Connect
                Endocrine Connections
                Bioscientifica Ltd (Bristol )
                July 2019
                17 June 2019
                : 8
                : 7
                : 988-996
                [1 ]Department of Thyroid , Breast and Vascular Surgery, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence should be addressed to R Ling or T Wang: lingruiaoxue@ 123456126.com or ting_w100@ 123456126.com

                *(C Yan and M Huang contributed equally to this work)

                © 2019 The authors


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