Critical Pitfalls in the use of BRAF Mutation as a Diagnostic Tool in Thyroid Nodules: a Case Report

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Thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology is the primary tool for the diagnostic evaluation of thyroid nodules. BRAF mutation analysis is employed as an ancillary tool in indeterminate cases, as recommended by the American Thyroid Association management guidelines. Hereby, we report the case of a 73-year-old woman who presented an 8-mm-size, ill-defined, left thyroid nodule. FNA resulted “suspicious for papillary thyroid carcinoma”. BRAF mutation status was analyzed, and somatic BRAFV600E mutation identified. The patient underwent a total thyroidectomy. At histological examination, the nodule was composed of Langerhans cells, admixed with many eosinophils. A final diagnosis of Langerhans cell histiocytosis of the thyroid was made. Our case emphasizes the critical diagnostic pitfalls due to the use of BRAFV600E mutation analysis in thyroid FNA. Notably, BRAFV600E mutation is common in melanoma, colorectal carcinoma, lung carcinoma, ovarian carcinoma, brain tumors, hairy cell leukemia, multiple myeloma, and histiocytoses. Therefore, in cases of indeterminate FNA with unclassifiable atypical cells BRAFV600E mutated, the possibility of a localization of hystiocytosis or a secondary thyroid malignancy should be taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-3
Number of pages4
JournalEndocrine Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


  • BRAF mutation
  • FNA
  • Histiocytosis
  • Langerhans cells
  • Thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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