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Presence of gene mutation helps guide thyroid cancer treatment
Date:9/5/2007

ers examined tumor samples from 314 patients with thyroid cancer (245 with conventional PTC, 73 with follicular thyroid cancer and 29 with the follicular variant of PTC) to determine the presence of BRAF V600E and its association with factors such as tumor size, tumor stage, and patient outcome.

They found the mutation in 51 percent of patients with conventional PTC, in 1 percent of patients with follicular thyroid cancer, and in 24.1 percent of patients with follicular variant PTC.

In conventional PTC and follicular variant PTC, the mutation was significantly associated with older age, larger tumor size, and recurrent and persistent disease. These patients also showed a trend toward a higher rate of cancer formation in the lymph node due to metastasis (the transfer of tumor cells from one organ or part of the body to another organ or part) and higher stage cancer.

In patients with conventional PTC, the mutation was associated with older age, lymph node and other metastasis, and was an independent risk factor for recurrent and persistent disease. Median follow-up time of all patients in this study was six years.

Kebebew explained that identification of the mutation in patients with thyroid cancer could be very useful in a variety of ways. For example, patients with the mutation may be candidates for a more aggressive approach to surgery, such as removing the central lymph node along with the diseased thyroid, to avoid the possibility of metastasis following surgery. BRAF V600E testing could also be useful for deciding between low- or high-dose radioiodine ablation therapy.

Advances in molecular biology techniques have improved our understanding of the genetic changes in cells that lead to the formation of cancer and have provided opportunities for identifying disease biomarkers like this mutation, added Kebebew. It is critical to continue the drive to discover reliable biomarkers so we can better identify, treat
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Contact: Vanessa deGier
vdegier@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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