Endocrine Pathology

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 62–68

Radiologic and Clinical Predictors of Malignancy in the Follicular Lesion of Undetermined Significance of the Thyroid


  • Ryan Carr
    • Department of PathologyYale University School of Medicine
  • Berrin Ustun
    • Department of PathologyYale University School of Medicine
  • David Chhieng
    • Department of PathologyYale University School of Medicine
  • Kevin Schofield
    • Department of PathologyYale University School of Medicine
  • Constantine Theoharis
    • Department of PathologyYale University School of Medicine
  • Lynwood Hammers
    • Department of Diagnostic RadiologyYale University School of Medicine
    • Department of PathologyYale University School of Medicine

DOI: 10.1007/s12022-013-9240-4

Cite this article as:
Carr, R., Ustun, B., Chhieng, D. et al. Endocr Pathol (2013) 24: 62. doi:10.1007/s12022-013-9240-4


Various ultrasonographic characteristics of thyroid nodules have been associated with a higher likelihood of malignancy, and certain clinical features may also increase the likelihood of malignancy in patients. This study is designed to determine the ultrasonographic and clinical predictors of malignancy in the atypia of undetermined significance/follicular lesion of undetermined significance (AUS/FLUS) category. A search through the cytology files at our institution was made for cases with diagnosis of AUS/FLUS. The clinical and radiologic findings were correlated with the final surgical pathology diagnosis. A total of 140 cases of AUS/FLUS with corresponding surgical intervention were identified (112 females and 28 males). There was a 79 % malignancy rate in nodules with irregular contours, compared to 51 % in nodules with regular outlines. Nodules demonstrating calcifications showed a 57 % malignancy rate, compared to 50 % in nodules without calcifications. Sixty-one percent of cases with an ultrasonographic diagnosis of indeterminate to suspicious were malignant following surgical resection. The rates of malignancy in patients with radiation exposure, symptomatic nodules, and positive family history of thyroid cancer were 22, 59, and 33 %, respectively. BRAF mutation was demonstrated in 57 % of malignant cases and in none of benign cases. No single clinical or ultrasonographic feature or combination of features is adequately sensitive or specific to identify all malignant nodules. However, a combination of solid nodules, nodules with irregular contours, symptomatic nodules, and positive BRAF mutation has high predictive value for malignancy in patients with a cytologic diagnosis of AUS/FLUS.


Thyroid Fine needle aspiration Predictors of malignancy Follicular lesion of undetermined significance Indeterminate

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013