The study aims to test whether combination of mutant-specific BRAF and CD117 immunocytochemical (ICC) staining stratifies probability for papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) in thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) specimens. A consecutive cohort of cases diagnosed as atypia of undetermined significance (AUS) or suspicious for malignancy-suspicious for papillary thyroid carcinoma (SM-SPTC) from 30 December, 2011 to 23 October, 2014 in a single institute was enrolled. Forty cytologically benign and 50 cytologically diagnosed PTC within the same time span were also included. CD117 and mutant-specific BRAF (BRAF VE1) ICC staining was performed. Association of BRAF VE1 and CD117 expression with final diagnosis was analyzed. Both BRAF VE1 and CD117 showed good performance in distinguishing PTC from benign nodules. Combination of BRAF VE1 and CD117 stratified 180 cases into three categories: BRAF VE1 positive regardless of CD117 expression (ICC-malignant), BRAF VE1 negative plus low level of CD117 expression (ICC-intermediate), and BRAF VE1 negative plus high level of CD117 expression (ICC-benign), which was associated with 100, 75.6, and 0 % of malignancy. Combination of mutant-specific BRAF and CD117 ICC may potentially facilitate the PTC risk stratification in FNAB thyroid nodule specimens.
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