The B-type Raf kinase (BRAF) protein is a serine/threonine kinase that has an important role in cellular proliferation, differentiation, and programmed cell death. The BRAF gene has been recently found to be mutated in human carcinomas, predominantly in malignant melanoma. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of the BRAF mutation in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) of Koreans through direct DNA sequencing of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)- amplified exon 15 with clinicopathological features. Seventy paraffin-embedded conventional papillary carcinomas in the thyroid gland were evaluated. The BRAF missense mutation at V599E was found in 58 of 70 PTCs (83%). The frequency of our series was much higher than the frequencies of other PTC series (36 - 69%). The frequency of nodal metastasis was also significantly higher in the BRAF mutation group (p= 0.048). These results suggest that the BRAF mutation is involved in the carcinogenesis in most conventional PTCs, especially those occurring in Koreans, and this is a potentially valuable marker for the evaluation of prognosis of patients with PTC. These findings support the specific inhibitors of BRAF being promising targets for the disease outcome.
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