Recently, the rearrangement of RET proto-oncogene has been reported to be the most common genetic change in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). However, its prevalence has been reported variably and its relation to clinical outcome has been controversial. The characteristic nuclear features of PTC usually render the diagnosis, but problem arises with equivocal cytologic features that are present focally. Although there remains some controversy, CK19 has been reported to be a useful ancillary tool for diagnosis of PTC. To evaluate the expression rate of RET/PTC rearrangement and CK19 in PTCs in a Korean population, we studied 115 papillary thyroid carcinomas in 3 mm-core tissue microarray based immunohistochemical analysis. The prevalence of Ret protein expression was 62.6% and the CK19 immunoreactivity was 80.9%. There was no statistically significant association between the Ret positivity and CK19 immunoreactivity, although the percent agreement of the two was relatively high. The clinicopathological variables did not correlate with the expression of Ret. In conclusion, the prevalence of Ret protein expression and its clinicopathological implications in a Korean population are not much different from those reported in previous studies. However, its detection via immunohistochemistry can be a useful diagnostic tool for diagnosing papillary thyroid carcinoma in conjunction with CK19.
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