Activation of the RAS/RAF/extracellular signal-regulated kinase-mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway by RAS mutations is commonly found in human cancers. Recently, we reported that mutation of BRAF provides an alternative route for activation of this signaling pathway and can be found in melanomas, colorectal cancers, and ovarian tumors. Here we perform an extensive characterization of BRAF mutations in a large series of colorectal tumors in various stages of neoplastic transformation. BRAF mutations were found in 11 of 215 (5.1%) colorectal adenocarcinomas, 3 of 108 (2.8%) sporadic adenomas, 1 of 63 (1.6%) adenomas from familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) patients, and 1 of 3 (33%) hyperplastic polyps. KRAS mutations were detected in 34% of carcinomas, 31% of sporadic adenomas, 9% of FAP adenomas, and no hyperplastic polyps. Eight of 16 BRAF mutations were V599E, the previously described hotspot, and none of these was associated with a KRAS mutation in the same lesion. The remaining eight mutations involve other conserved amino acids in the kinase domain, and 62.5% have a KRAS mutation in the same tumor. Our data suggest that BRAF mutations are, to some extent, biologically similar to RAS mutations in colorectal cancer because both occur at approximately the same stage of the adenoma-carcinoma sequence, both are associated with villous morphology, and both are less common in adenomas from FAP cases. By contrast, colorectal adenocarcinomas with BRAF mutations are associated with early Dukes' tumor stages (P = 0.006) and no such relationship was observed for KRAS mutations. The presence in some colorectal neoplasms of mutations in both BRAF and KRAS suggests that modulation of the RAS-RAF-extracellular signal-regulated kinase-mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway may occur by mutation of multiple components.