Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid. The problem of suspicious cytologic findings

H. Gharib, J. R. Goellner, A. R. Zinsmeister, C. S. Grant, J. A. Van Heerden

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203 Scopus citations


Cases in which thyroid nodules yielded suspicious cytologic findings on fine-needle aspiration biopsy were prospectively studied during a 3-year period. Of 1970 patients, 333 (17%) had suspicious cytologic findings; from this group, the cases of 253 patients were studied. The cytologic diagnoses were 96 (38%) Hurthle cell neoplasms, 84 (33%) follicular cell neoplasms, and 73 (29%) nonspecific diagnoses. A thyroid scan was obtained in 123 of 203 (61%) patients with a solitary nodule, and the nodules were hypofunctional in 102 (83%). Malignant lesions were found in 60 (24%) of the 253 patients. Our findings are consistent with reports that 20% of patients who have a fine-needle aspiration biopsy will have suspicious cytologic findings and that of these, 20% may have a malignant lesion. Thyroid scanning will not distinguish between benign and malignant thyroid lesions that are suspicious on cytologic examination. Surgical excision of all suspicious lesions seems reasonable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-28
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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