The Significance of RAS-Like Mutations and MicroRNA Profiling in Predicting Malignancy in Thyroid Biopsy Specimens

Nicole A. Cipriani, Daniel N. Johnson, David H. Sarne, Peter Angelos, Ward Reeves, Tatjana Antic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules undergoing molecular testing, estimated risk of malignancy is variable. Identification of a non-cancer-specific mutation (RAS-like) confirms a neoplastic process but does not differentiate between benign, malignant, and low-risk neoplasms. This study aims to retrospectively evaluate institutional experience of Interpace (ThyGeNEXT® and ThyraMIR®; Pittsburgh, PA) testing and to determine the rate of malignancy in resected nodules, stratified by mutational analysis and microRNA profile. Of 1917 fine need aspirations, 140 (7.3%) underwent Interpace testing: 47 (33.6%) were molecular-not-benign (harbored mutation, fusion, and/or positive miRNA) and 93 (66.4%) were molecular-benign (no mutations or fusions and negative microRNA). Surgery was spared in 79.6% of molecular-benign and 61.4% of all tested patients. Fifty-four (38.6%) underwent resection. Seventeen (89.5%) of the resected molecular-benign were benign and 2 were malignant. Thirteen (37.1%) of the resected molecular-not-benign were benign, 7 (20%) were noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP), and 15 (42.9%) were malignant (p < 0.05, negative predictive value (NPV) 89.4–95.6%, positive predictive value (PPV) 22.3–42.8%). Most molecular-not-benign (72.3%) had RAS-like mutation. Twenty-three were resected: 3 were malignant and 7 were NIFTP. Nodules with non-RAS-like mutations (BRAF V600E-like, others) were more likely to be malignant than RAS-like (H/N/KRAS, BRAF K601E) (p < 0.05, NPV 86.9–96.5%, PPV 100%). Most nodules had RAS-like mutations and most were benign or low-risk neoplasms (NIFTP). This study supports the role of histologic examination in the distinction of malignancy in RAS-like thyroid neoplasms and underscores the role of molecular testing in risk stratification, patient counseling, and operative management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-456
Number of pages11
JournalEndocrine Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Fine needle aspiration
  • MicroRNA profile
  • Molecular testing
  • RAS-like mutation
  • Thyroid biopsy


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