Relation Between F-18 FDG Uptake of PET/CT and BRAFV600E Mutation in Papillary Thyroid Cancer

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BRAFV600E mutation and F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake are potential prognostic factors of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). This study was performed to investigate the relationship between the BRAFV600E mutation and F-18 FDG uptake in PTC.

We retrospectively included 169 PTC patients who underwent F-18 FDG positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) before thyroidectomy from May 2009 to August 2012. Subjects were classified into overt PTC (>1 cm, n = 76) and papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC, n = 93) groups. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess the relationship between maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) of the primary tumors and clinicopathologic variables.

The BRAFV600E mutation was detected in 82.2% (139/169). In all subjects, the BRAFV600E mutation and tumor size were independently related to SUVmax by multivariate analysis (P = 0.048 and P < 0.001, respectively). SUVmax was significantly higher in tumors with the BRAFV600E mutation than in those with wild-type BRAF (9.4 ± 10.9 vs 5.0 ± 4.1, P < 0.001). Similarly, in overt PTC group, the BRAFV600E mutation and tumor size were independently correlated with SUVmax (P = 0.032 and P = 0.001, respectively). By contrast, in PTMC group, only tumor size was significantly associated with SUVmax (P = 0.010).

The presence of the BRAFV600E mutation is independently associated with high F-18 FDG uptake on preoperative PET/CT in patients with overt PTC, but this relationship was not evident in PTMC. This study provides a better understanding of the relationship between F-18 FDG uptake and BRAFV600E mutation in patients with PTC.

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