Aims: To elucidate the genetic background of anaplastic transformation, RET rearrangements and BRAF mutation were studied in composite undifferentiated carcinomas (UCs) of the thyroid, which are UCs having papillary carcinoma (PC) components. Methods and results: Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed for RET rearrangements and PCR for BRAF mutation in UC and PC components that were microdissected separately from seven composite UCs. Forty-two thyroid cancers with single component histology (14 UCs and 28 PCs) were also studied in the same manner. RET/PTC1 was undetectable in both components from all seven composite UCs, and RET/PTC3 was identified in both components of one composite UC. BRAF mutation was identified in both components from three composite UCs and only in the PC components from two composite UCs. In contrast, in thyroid carcinomas with single component histology, RET/PTC1 was detected in 11% of PCs and in none of the UCs, and RET/PTC3 was not found in any of the tumours studied. BRAF mutation was identified in 82% of PCs and in 21% of UCs. Conclusions: The high frequency of BRAF mutation and the absence of RET rearrangements in UC components from composite UCs supports the hypothesis that UCs may actually represent progressive malignant degeneration of a BRAF-mutated, well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma.
- BRAF mutation
- RET rearrangements
- anaplastic transformation
- papillary thyroid carcinoma
- undifferentiated thyroid carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine