OUP user menu

Interpretation of RET Immunostaining in Follicular Lesions of the Thyroid

Lisa A. Cerilli MD, Stacey E. Mills MD, Craig A. Rumpel MS, Thomas H. Dudley MD, Christopher A. Moskaluk MD, PhD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/53UC-4U88-RRTN-H33G 186-193 First published online: 1 August 2002


We applied monoclonal antibodies against RET and cytokeratin 19 (CK19) to the following tumor sections: classic papillary carcinoma (PC), 16; Hürthle-type PC (HPC), 1; sclerosing PC with nodular fasciitis–like stroma (SPC), 1; PC, follicular variant (FVPC), 12; follicular adenoma (FA), 9; Hürthle cell adenoma (HA), 4; Hürthle cell carcinoma (HC), 3; and follicular carcinoma (FC), 7.

CK19+ tumors included 16 PCs, 1 HPC, 1 SPC, 11 FVPCs, 7 FAs, 4 FCs, and 1 HC. RET+ tumors included 4 HAs, 3 HCs, 1 HPC, 12 PCs, 7 FVPCs, and 2 FAs. Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) revealed a RET transcript in 6 Hürthle cell lesions.

RET immunoreactivity is less sensitive and specific for PC than CK19. CK19 is useful for identifying PC, although only lesions with diffuse, intense staining should be considered positive. The detection of RET protein by immunohistochemical analysis was corroborated by the presence of the RET transcript by RT-PCR. Further study is warranted to determine whether this represents activation by gene fusion or some other mechanism in this subset of thyroid neoplasms.

Key Words:
  • Thyroid
  • Follicular
  • Papillary
  • Hürthle
  • CK19
  • Cytokeratin 19
  • RET