The use of BRAF V600E mutation-specific immunohistochemistry in pediatric Langerhans cell histiocytosis

Leomar Y. Ballester, Miguel D. Cantu, Karen P.H. Lim, Stephen F. Sarabia, Lizmery Suarez Ferguson, C. Renee Webb, Carl E. Allen, Kenneth L. McClain, Carrie A. Mohila, Jyotinder N. Punia, Angshumoy Roy, Dolores H. López-Terrada, M. John Hicks, Kevin E. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


BRAF p.V600E mutations are detected in greater than 50% of pediatric Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) lesions. However, the use of mutation-specific BRAF V600E immunohistochemistry (IHC) as a surrogate for molecular testing in pediatric LCH is unknown. We tested the mutation-specific BRAF V600E monoclonal antibody (clone VE1) in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded LCH samples from 26 pediatric patients (14 males and 12 females, ages 7 mo–17 y) using allele-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with a limit of detection of 0.5% as the comparative gold standard. BRAF VE1 staining was scored for both intensity (0-3+) and percentage of immunoreactive tumor cells (0%-100%). BRAF VE1 immunoreactivity was determined using both lenient (≥1+, ≥1%) and stringent (≥2+, ≥10%) scoring criteria. Using lenient-scoring criteria, we found that the sensitivity and specificity of IHC compared with allele-specific real-time PCR were 100.0% and 18.2%, respectively. The poor specificity of lenient IHC analysis was attributable to weak, 1+ staining in both BRAF-mutated and wild-type LCH. Using stringent-scoring criteria, we found that specificity improved to 100.0% at the expense of sensitivity that decreased to 80.0%. Stringent scoring generated 3 false-negative results, but in all cases, neoplastic tissue comprised less than 5% of the stained section and/or the specimen was decalcified. In conclusion, highly sensitive molecular assays remain the gold standard for BRAF mutation analysis in LCH paraffin-embedded lesions. To avoid false-positive results, unequivocal VE1 staining of 2+ intensity in greater than or equal to 10% neoplastic histiocytes is required. However, negative VE1 results require additional studies to exclude false-negatives, and stringent-scoring criteria may not be optimal for scant or decalcified specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalHematological Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • BRAF
  • immunohistochemistry
  • LCH
  • pediatric
  • V600E
  • VE1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'The use of BRAF V600E mutation-specific immunohistochemistry in pediatric Langerhans cell histiocytosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this