A high prevalence of activating mutation of the B type Raf kinase (BRAF) gene was recently reported in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). However, the frequency of this mutation in severed other types of thyroid neoplasms was not thoroughly investigated. In the present study, in addition to PTC, we evaluated various thyroid tumor types for the most common BRAF T1796A mutation by direct genomic DNA sequencing. We found a high and similar frequency (45%) of the BRAF T1796A mutation in two geographically distinct PTC patient populations: one composed of sporadic cases from North America, and the other from Kiev, Ukraine, that included individuals who were exposed to the Chernobyl nuclear accident. In contrast, we found BRAF mutation in only 20% of anaplastic thyroid cancers and no mutation in medullary thyroid cancers and benign thyroid hyperplasia. We also confirmed previous reports that the BRAF T1796A mutation did not occur in benign thyroid adenomas and follicular thyroid cancers. Specific analysis of the Ukraine patients with confirmed history of radiation exposure failed to show a higher incidence of BRAF mutation. Our results suggest that frequent occurrence of BRAF mutation is inherently associated with PTC, irrespective of geographic origin, and is apparently not a radiation-susceptible mutation. The lack or low prevalence of BRAF mutation in other thyroid neoplasms is consistent with the notion that other previously defined genetic alterations on the same signaling pathway are sufficient to cause tumorigenesis in most thyroid neoplasms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical