OBJECTIVES BRAF V600E mutation is characteristic of hairy cell leukemia (HCL). A V600E mutation-specific antibody, VE1, has been recently developed. We studied the diagnostic utility of this antibody in HCL and compared it with other B-cell neoplasms. METHODS VE1 activity was assessed using immunohistochemistry in 90 mature B-cell neoplasms, including HCL (n = 17), HCL variant (n = 6), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) (n = 20), and 47 other B-cell lymphomas. Most (87/90) specimens were formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded bone marrow (BM) biopsy specimens decalcified in either hydrochloric acid or formic acid. RESULTS VE1 was positive in 15 (88%) cases of HCL and two (10%) cases of CLL and was negative in all other tumors assessed. The VE1-positive HCL cases showed uniform staining in all tumor cells, but intensity was variable. The two VE1-negative HCL cases had BRAF V600 mutations proven by molecular analysis. The two CLL cases positive with VE1 showed an atypical staining pattern with expression in a minority of lymphoma cells. Immunohistochemistry using the VE1 antibody had a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 97% for HCL. CONCLUSIONS VE1 immunohistochemistry is a useful and convenient surrogate for detecting BRAF V600E mutation in BM biopsy specimens decalcified with hydrochloric or formic acid-based solutions.