Reduction in thyroid nodule biopsies and improved accuracy with American college of radiology thyroid imaging reporting and data system

Jenny K. Hoang, William D. Middleton, Alfredo E. Farjat, Jill E. Langer, Carl C. Reading, Sharlene A. Teefey, Nicole Abinanti, Fernando J. Boschini, Abraham J. Bronner, Nirvikar Dahiya, Barbara S. Hertzberg, Justin R. Newman, Daniel Scanga, Robert C. Vogler, Franklin N. Tessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Purpose: To compare the biopsy rate and diagnostic accuracy before and after applying the American College of Radiology (ACR) Thyroid Imaging Reporting and Data System (TI-RADS) criteria for thyroid nodule evaluation. Materials and Methods: In this retrospective study, eight radiologists with 3-32 years experience in thyroid ultrasonography (US) reviewed US features of 100 thyroid nodules that were cytologically proven, pathologically proven, or both in December 2016. The radiologists evaluated nodule features in five US categories and provided biopsy recommendations based on their own practice patterns without knowledge of ACR TI-RADS criteria. Another three expert radiologists served as the reference standard readers for the imaging findings. ACR TI-RADS criteria were retrospectively applied to the features assigned by the eight radiologists to produce biopsy recommendations. Comparison was made for biopsy rate, sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy. Results: Fifteen of the 100 nodules (15%) were malignant. The mean number of nodules recommended for biopsy by the eight radiologists was 80 6 16 (standard deviation) (range, 38-95 nodules) based on their own practice patterns and 57 ± 11 (range, 37-73 nodules) with retrospective application of ACR TI-RADS criteria. Without ACR TI-RADS criteria, readers had an overall sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 95% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 83%, 99%), 20% (95% CI: 16%, 25%), and 28% (95% CI: 21%, 37%), respectively. After applying ACR TIRADS criteria, overall sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 92% (95% CI: 68%, 98%), 44% (95% CI: 33%, 56%), and 52% (95% CI: 40%, 63%), respectively. Although fewer malignancies were recommended for biopsy with ACR TI-RADS criteria, the majority met the criteria for follow-up US, with only three of 120 (2.5%) malignancy encounters requiring no follow-up or biopsy. Expert consensus recommended biopsy in 55 of 100 nodules with ACR TI-RADS criteria. Their sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 87% (95% CI: 48%, 98%), 51% (95% CI: 40%, 62%), and 56% (95% CI: 46%, 66%), respectively. Conclusion: ACR TI-RADS criteria offer a meaningful reduction in the number of thyroid nodules recommended for biopsy and significantly improve the accuracy of recommendations for nodule management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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