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19.03.2020 | Hollow Organ GI

Imaging predictors of BRAF mutation in colorectal cancer

Abdominal Radiology
Kulyada Eurboonyanun, Rita Maria Lahoud, Hamed Kordbacheh, Ali Pourvaziri, Julaluck Promsorn, Payia Chadbunchachai, Aileen O’Shea, Isha D. Atre, Mukesh Harisinghani
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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths and is associated with various genetic mutations. BRAF mutations, found in approximately 10% of all CRCs, are associated with negative predictive outcomes. The goal of this study was to assess the relationship between the imaging findings and BRAF statuses of CRC patients.

Materials and methods

The study population was colorectal cancer patients who underwent biopsy or surgery in a single institution from September 2004 to October 2018, and in whom the pathologic specimens were tested for BRAF mutation. The exclusion criteria were (1) patients without pre-operative cross-sectional imaging, and (2) patients whose tumors were invisible on imaging. Two hundred and eighty-three patients met the inclusion criteria. Among them, 128 were excluded, and a total of 155 patients were enrolled in the study.


BRAF mutations were significantly more common in female patients (p = 0.007). Patients with mutated BRAF were significantly older than those with wild-type BRAF (p = 0.001). BRAF-mutant tumors were predominant in right-sided colon (p = 0.001) with higher numbers of polypoid- or mass-like morphology (p = 0.019) and heterogeneous enhancement (p = 0.009). Compared to their wild-type counterparts, BRAF-mutated CRCs have a lower occurrence of non-peritoneal, and overall metastases (p = 0.013 and p = 0.004, respectively). Logistic regression analysis showed three significant factors for the prediction of BRAF mutations in CRC patients: right-sided location (p = 0.002), heterogeneous tumor enhancement (p = 0.039), and lack of non-peritoneal metastasis (p = 0.043).


By recognizing the specific imaging features of BRAF-mutant CRCs, it would be possible to identify a patient who has a higher risk of carrying BRAF mutation.

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