Thyroid gland
Competency Assessment
8. Molecular analysis of thyroid fine needle aspiration specimens

Topic Completed: 1 November 2013

Revised: 24 January 2017, last major update November 2013

Copyright: (c) 2013-2017,, Inc.

Zubair W. Baloch, M.D., Ph.D.
Ricardo R. Lastra, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 85
Page views in 2019 to date: 61
Cite this page: Lastra R., Baloch Z., Pramick M. R. Molecular analysis of thyroid fine needle aspiration specimens. website. Accessed July 17th, 2019.
Medical Knowledge
  1. Recognize the main genetic mutations associated with the various thyroid neoplasms
    • BRAF point mutations
    • RET / PTC rearrangements and mutations
    • RAS point mutations
    • PAX8 / PPARγ rearrangements
  2. Understand the basic molecular testing methods to evaluate for the presence of characteristic mutations
Practice Based Learning
  1. Recognize molecular analysis of thyroid FNA specimens as an ancillary tool in the work up of few but not all cases
  2. Recognize the importance of onsite evaluation of thyroid FNA specimens as a triage for requesting additional material for performing appropriate molecular tests
    • "Atypia of undetermined significance / follicular lesion of undetermined" - mutation panel (BRAF, RAS, RET / PTC & PAX8 / PPARγ rearrangements
  3. Recognize the utility of testing for a panel of mutations to further characterize thyroid FNA samples with indeterminate cytology
  4. Understand the technical issues in molecular testing of thyroid samples
    • Preservation of specimen
    • Time to processing
    • Methodology employed for molecular testing
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