The most frequent initial manifestation of thyroid cancer is the appearance of a nodule. More than 20% of the general population has a palpable thyroid nodule and the percentage rises to 70% based on ultrasound identification. In 95% of cases the nodule is simply a hyperplastic or benign lesion. The most reliable diagnostic test for thyroid nodules is fine needle aspiration (FNA), but cytological discrimination between malignant and benign follicular neoplasms remains difficult. Cytological analysis is now, almost routinely, being combined with molecular genetics to enable the pathologist to make a more objective diagnosis. In this study, we performed the molecular analysis using a new simplified procedure that involves a panel of BRAF, RAS, RET and RET/PTC gene mutations in easily obtainable FNA samples, in the attempt to improve the efficacy of the FNA diagnosis of thyroid nodules and thus patient management. In this new procedure, PCR and sequencing analysis are used to detect point mutations, and, in parallel, RT-PCR is used to detect the chimeric RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3 transcripts in RNA extracted from FNA.
- Journal Article