Enhanced B-Raf protein expression is independent of V600E mutant status in thyroid carcinomas

Hum Pathol. 2007 Dec;38(12):1810-8. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2007.04.014. Epub 2007 Aug 21.


BRAF (7q24) encodes a serine/threonine protein kinase, and its expression level varies in different tissues. Although a high prevalence of BRAF mutation has been suggested as an important event in thyroid tumorigenesis, little is known about the expression pattern of B-Raf in the thyroid. Thus, we examined the expression of B-Raf in various neoplastic and nonneoplastic thyroid tissues and compared it with BRAF mutational status. Normal and hyperplastic thyroid tissues showed focal and faint immunoreactivity for B-Raf, especially in cuboidal follicular cells of small follicles. In contrast, diffuse expression of B-Raf was observed in follicular adenomas and well-differentiated carcinomas. The missense point mutation BRAF(V600E) was identified in 42% (13/31 cases) of papillary carcinomas and 33% (5/15 cases) of undifferentiated carcinomas but not in normal thyroid tissues, nodular hyperplasia, follicular adenomas, or follicular carcinomas. The immunohistochemical expression of B-Raf did not correlate with BRAF mutational status. Moreover, Western blotting revealed that B-Raf expression in thyroid carcinoma cell lines was also independent of BRAF mutation. Serum or fibroblast growth factor-1 stimulation further activates ERK1/2 in heterozygous BRAF(V600E)-positive carcinoma cells as well as BRAF(V600E) mutation-negative carcinoma cells. In conclusion, heterogeneous focal expression of wild-type B-Raf in nonneoplastic tissues may play a role in the growth or functional activity of thyroid follicular cells. In contrast, diffuse expression of wild-type and/or mutant B-Raf may be involved in the tumorigenic process resulting in activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway in cooperation with other genetic abnormalities and activation of ligand-receptor signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / biosynthesis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf