Indexed on: 23 Jul '14Published on: 23 Jul '14Published in: Journal of thyroid research
Objective. Ultrasonographic characteristics are associated with thyroid malignancy. Our aim was to compare the diagnostic value of ultrasound features in the detection of thyroid malignancy in both solid and mixed nodules. Methods. We prospectively studied female patients (≥50 years) referred to ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy. Ultrasound features considered suspicious were hypoechogenicity, microcalcifications, irregular margins, high anteroposterior (AP)/axial-ratio, and absent halo. Associations were separately assessed in mixed and solid nodules. Results. In a group of 504 elderly female patients (age = 69 ± 8 years), the frequency of malignant cytology was 6%. Thirty-one percent of nodules were mixed and 60% were solid. The rate of malignant cytology was similar for mixed and solid nodules (7.4 versus 5.8%, P: 0.56). While in mixed nodules none of the ultrasound characteristics were associated with malignant cytology, in solid nodules irregular margins and microcalcifications were significant (all P < 0.05). The combination of irregular margins and/or microcalcifications significantly increased the association with malignant cytology only in solid nodules (OR: 2.76 (95% CI: 1.25-6.10), P: 0.012). Conclusions. Ultrasound features were of poor diagnostic value in mixed nodules, which harbored malignant lesions as often as solid nodules. Our findings challenge the recommended minimal size for ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy in mixed nodules.