Clinical and Ultrasound Thyroid Nodule Characteristics and Their Association with Cytological and Histopathological Outcomes: A Retrospective Multicenter Study in High-Resolution Thyroid Nodule Clinics
María Molina-Vega 1 , Carlos Antonio Rodríguez-Pérez 2 , Ana Isabel Álvarez-Mancha 3 , Gloria Baena-Nieto 4 , María Riestra 5 , Victoria Alcázar 6 , Ana Reyes Romero-Lluch 7 , Juan C Galofré 8 , José C Fernández-García 1
Introduction: Thyroid nodules are a common finding. A high-resolution thyroid nodule clinic (HR-TNC) condenses all tests required for the evaluation of thyroid nodules into a single appointment. We aimed to evaluate the clinical outcomes at HR-TNCs.
Design and methods: A retrospective cross-sectional multicenter study including data from four HR-TNCs in Spain. We evaluated fine-needle aspiration (FNA) indications and the association between clinical and ultrasound characteristics with cytological and histopathological outcomes.
Results: A total of 2809 thyroid nodules were included; FNA was performed in 82.1%. Thyroid nodules that underwent FNA were more likely larger, isoechoic, with microcalcifications, and in younger subjects. The rate of nondiagnostic FNA was 4.3%. A solid component, irregular margins or microcalcifications, significantly increased the odds of Bethesda IV-V-VI (vs. Bethesda II).
Irregular margins and a solid component were independently associated with increased odds of malignancy. Thyroid nodules <20 mm and ≥20-<40 mm had a 6.5-fold and 3.3-fold increased risk for malignancy respectively in comparison with those ≥40 mm.
Conclusion: In this large multicenter study, we found that the presence of a solid component and irregular margins are factors independently related to malignancy in thyroid nodules. Since nodule size ≥40 mm was associated with the lowest odds of malignancy, this cut-off should not be a factor leading to indicate thyroid surgery. HR-TNCs were associated with a low rate of nondiagnostic FNA.