Impact of Serum TSH and Anti-Thyroglobulin Antibody Levels on Lymph Node Fine-Needle Aspiration Thyroglobulin Measurements in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Patients

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Background: Thyroglobulin measurements in the washout of fine needle aspiration (FNA-Tg) are an excellent tool to detect lymph node (LN) metastases of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC). Nevertheless, how to define the best cutoffs and the influence of potential confounders are still being discussed. Objective: To evaluate the accuracy of FNA-Tg measurement to detect DTC metastases and the influence of thyroid status and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb). Methods: One hundred thirty-eight patients with DTC and suspicious cervical LN were included. Patients underwent ultrasound (US)-guided FNA for cytological examination and FNA-Tg measurements. Final diagnoses were confirmed by histological examination or clinical and US follow-up for at least 1 year. Results: Data from 119 subjects with suspicious LN were evaluated. The median value of FNA-Tg in patients with metastatic LN (n = 65) was 3,263.0 ng/mL (838.55–12,507.5), while patients without LN metastasis (n = 54) showed levels of 0.2 ng/mL (0.2–0.2). According to the ROC curve analysis, the best cutoff value to predict metastasis was 4.41 ng/mL for FNA-Tg, with a sensitivity of 98% and specificity of 96%. There were no differences in the median of FNA-Tg measurements between those on (TSH 0.16 mUI/mL) and those off levothyroxine (TSH 99.41 mUI/mL) therapy (47.94 vs. 581.15 ng/mL, respectively; p = 0.79). Interestingly, the values of FNA-Tg in patients with LN metastasis (n = 65) did not differ between patients with positive and those with negative TgAb (88.8 vs. 3,263.0 ng/mL, respectively; p = 0.57). Conclusion: US-guided FNA-Tg proved to be a useful examination in the follow-up of patients with DTC, independently of TSH status and the presence of TgAb.

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