Thy 3F and 3a malignancy rate, a multisite regional retrospective case series

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The aim of this study was to ascertain the incidence of thyroid cancer for patients categorised as Thy3, 3a or 3f across four tertiary thyroid multidisciplinary centres in the UK.


This is a retrospective case series examining patients who presented with a thyroid nodule and diagnosed as Thy3, 3a or 3f according to the Royal College of Pathologists modified British Thyroid Association and Royal College of Physicians Thy system.


In total, 395 patients were included in this study. Of these, 136 turned out to have benign thyroid disease and 24 had micropapillary thyroid carcinomas. The overall rate of thyroid malignancy was 28.8%. For each subcategory, the rate of malignancy was Thy3 24.7.7%, Thy3a 30.4% and Thy3f 29.2. However, the incidence of thyroid malignancy varied considerably between the four centres (Thy 3f 18-54%).


The diagnosis of thyroid cancer is evolving but detection for malignancy for indeterminate nodules remains below 50% for most centres around the world. In 2014, the British Thyroid Association subdivided the original Thy3 category into Thy3a and Thy3f and recommended a more conservative approach to management for Thy3a nodules. Despite this, only two centres yielded a higher conversion rate of malignancy in the new higher graded Thy3f group compared with Thy3a.


It is debateable whether the new ‘Thy3' subcategories are more useful than the original. Local thyroid malignancy rates may also be more useful than national averages to inform treatment decisions.

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