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BRAF mutation in cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules: after reclassification of a variant thyroid carcinoma

Authors Pongsapich W, Chongkolwatana C, Poungvarin N, Amornpichetkul K, Piyawattayakorn N, Vejvisithsakul P, Maneeprasopchoke P

Received 7 October 2018

Accepted for publication 22 January 2019

Published 21 February 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 1465—1473

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S190001

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sanjay Singh


Warut Pongsapich,1 Cheerasook Chongkolwatana,1 Naravat Poungvarin,2 Kanchana Amornpichetkul,3 Nutthaya Piyawattayakorn,1 Pichpisith Vejvisithsakul,2 Prachya Maneeprasopchoke1

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand; 2Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand; 3Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand

Purpose: Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) is regarded by the Bethesda system as the gold-standard investigation for stratifying the risk of malignancy of a thyroid nodule. However, some limitations affect the adequacy of the obtained materials, resulting in 30% of the cytological results remaining in the indeterminate category. We aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of the BRAF mutation in cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules after the reclassification of a variant thyroid carcinoma.
Patients and methods: In this prospective diagnostic study, 76 patients with FNAB findings of atypia of undetermined significance (AUS) and suspicious for malignancy (SUS) were included. The BRAF V600 mutation from FNAB was confirmed by a PCR-based method (Sanger sequencing combined with allele-specific real-time PCR techniques) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Pathological specimens and features, including noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP), were reviewed and compared to the FNAB results.
Results: Using the PCR-based method, the BRAF mutation was positive in 13/76 cases (17.1%), with the diagnostic values of 16.7% sensitivity, 100% specificity, 100% positive predictive value (PPV), and 82.8% negative predictive value (NPV) in the AUS compared to 73.3% sensitivity, 100% specificity, 100% PPV, and 20% NPV in the SUS. For the IHC technique, only 20 of the 76 cytological specimens were qualified for testing. The BRAF mutation was positive in 13/20 cases, with the diagnostic values of 100% sensitivity, 63.6% specificity, 42.9% PPV, and 100% NPV in the AUS compared to 100% sensitivity and PPV in the SUS. The BRAF mutation was not found in the pathological reports for NIFTP.
Conclusion: The malignancy rate is high in our data, with specific and acceptable accuracy rates for the BRAF mutation from FNAB found by using the PCR-based method. NIFTP has been introduced after the pathological reclassification. Molecular diagnosis might be useful to establish the nature of the disease.

Keywords: papillary thyroid carcinoma, fine-needle aspiration, BRAF mutation, indeterminate thyroid nodules, noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features, NIFTP, Thailand



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