Impact of reclassifying noninvasive follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma on the risk of malignancy in The Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent discussions have focused on redefining noninvasive follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (NI-FVPTC) as a neoplasm rather than a carcinoma. This study assesses the potential impact of such a reclassification on the implied risk of malignancy (ROM) for the diagnostic categories of The Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology (TBSRTC).

METHODS:

The study consisted of consecutive fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) cases collected between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 from 5 academic institutions. Demographic information, cytology diagnoses, and surgical pathology follow-up were recorded. The ROM was calculated with and without NI-FVPTC and was presented as a range: all cases (ie, overall risk of malignancy [OROM]) versus those with surgical follow-up only.

RESULTS:

The FNAB cohort consisted of 6943 thyroid nodules representing 5179 women and 1409 men with an average age of 54 years (range, 9-94 years). The combined average ROM and OROM for the diagnostic categories of TBSRTC were as follows: nondiagnostic, 4.4% to 25.3%; benign, 0.9% to 9.3%; atypia of undetermined significance/follicular lesion of undetermined significance (AUS/FLUS), 12.1% to 31.2%; follicular neoplasm (FN), 21.8% to 33.2%; suspicious for malignancy (SM), 62.1% to 82.6%; and malignant, 75.9% to 99.1%. The impact of reclassifying NI-FVPTC on the ROM and OROM was most pronounced and statistically significant in the 3 indeterminate categories: the AUS/FLUS category had a decrease of 5.2% to 13.6%, the FN category had a decrease of 9.9% to 15.1%, and the SM category had a decrease of 17.6% to 23.4% (P < .05), whereas the benign and malignant categories had decreases of 0.3% to 3.5% and 2.5% to 3.3%, respectfully. The trend of the effect on the ROM and OROM was similar for all 5 institutions.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results from this multi-institutional cohort indicate that the reclassification of NI-FVPTC will have a significant impact on the ROM for the 3 indeterminate categories of TBSRTC. Cancer Cytopathol2016;124:181–187. © 2015 American Cancer Society.

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