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Microfluidic Droplet Digital PCR Is a Powerful Tool for Detection of BRAF and TERT Mutations in Papillary Thyroid Carcinomas

  • ylli, dorina
  • patel, aneeta
  • jensen, kirk
  • zhao-zhang, li
  • mendonca-torres, maria cecilia
  • costello, john
  • gomes-lima, cristiane jeyce
  • wartofsky, leonard
  • burman, kenneth dale
  • vasko, vasyl v.
Publication Date
Dec 02, 2019
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We examined the utility of microfluidic digital PCR (dPCR) for detection of BRAF and TERT mutations in thyroid tumors. DNA extracted from 100 thyroid tumors (10 follicular adenomas, 10 follicular cancers, 5 medullary cancers, and 75 papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) were used for detection of BRAF and TERT mutations. Digital PCRs were performed using rare mutation SNP genotyping assays on QuantStudio 3D platform. In PTCs, BRAFV600E was detected by dPCR and Sanger sequencing in 42/75 (56%) and in 37/75 (49%), respectively. BRAFV600E was not detected in other tumors. The ratio of mutant/total BRAF alleles varied from 4.7% to 47.5%. These ratios were higher in classical PTCs (27.1%) as compared to follicular variant PTCs (9.4%) p = 0.001. In PTCs with and without metastases, the ratios of mutant/total BRAF alleles were 27.6% and 18.4%, respectively, (p = 0.03). In metastatic lesions percentages of mutant/total BRAF alleles were similar to those detected in primary tumors. TERTC228T and TERTC250T were found in two and one cases, respectively, and these tumors concomitantly harbored BRAFV600E. These tumors exhibited gross extra-thyroidal extension, metastases to lymph nodes, and pulmonary metastases (one case). Our results showed that dPCR allows quantitative assessment of druggable targets in PTCs and could be helpful in a molecular-based stratification of prognosis in patients with thyroid cancer.

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