Thyroid Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Using Liquid Biopsy to Detect BRAF V600E in Papillary Thyroid Cancer

By: Jenna Carter, PhD
Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020

A recent article published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine highlighted the use of blood-based liquid biopsies as a less invasive alternative to detect cellular and molecular biomarkers for papillary thyroid cancer. According to Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska, MD, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues, the detection of BRAF V600E was associated with a nearly five times higher likelihood of an incomplete or indeterminate response to therapy.

“In this study, we focused on the detection of cfBRAF V600E, since this is the most frequent genomic alteration found…and a well-established druggable target with already approved pharmacological inhibitors of the BRAF/MAPK signaling pathway,” the authors commented.

A total of 57 patients with BRAF V600E–positive primary tumors were included in the study. Blood samples were collected, and cell-free DNA was isolated from plasma samples and amplified using two different types of polymerase chain reactions. A real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to detect BRAF V600E and wild-type BRAF alleles.

Analyses revealed mutant alleles in 24 patients, and the presence of cfBRAF V600E was significantly associated with tumor size (P = .03), multifocal patterns of growth (P = .03), the presence of extrathyroidal gross extension (P = .02), and the presence of pulmonary micrometastases (P = .04). Furthermore, patients with the mutated allele were found to have a 4.68 times higher likelihood of poor response to therapy, as compared with patients without detectable mutations (odds ratios = 4.68; 95% confidence interval = 1.26–17.32; P = .02).

Dr. Klubo-Gwiezdzinska and colleagues concluded: “This technique could prove useful for the identification of patients at an increased risk for a structurally or biochemically incomplete or indeterminate response to treatment.”

Disclosure: For full disclosure of the study authors, visit


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