Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 345–348 | Cite as

Can misdiagnosis in pre-operative FNAC of thyroid nodule influence surgical treatment?

  • P. Del Rio
  • R. Minelli
  • S. Cataldo
  • G. Ceresini
  • G. Robuschi
  • L. Corcione
  • A. Guazzi
  • R. Nizzoli
  • M. Sianesi
Original Articles


Background: Pre-operative cytology in thyroid disease remains the most appropriate diagnostic test for defining the nature of a thyroid nodule before surgical excision. Materials and methods: We selected the most recent 825 surgical thyroid procedures performed in our institution from January 2004 to June 2007; 776 were total thyroidectomies, 23 were lobe-isthmectomies, and 26 were radical neck dissections. We distributed the data based on pre-operative cytology. Each cytological diagnosis was compared to results obtained by definitive histology. Tumors were called incidentalomas if they consisted of a neoplastic focus with a low grade of aggressiveness, as demonstrated by dimension <5 mm, non-aggressive histological subtype. Results: Of the 541 cases of benign disease, 417 were confirmed as benign. The other 124 cases are listed as follows: 29 follicular adenoma; 76 papillary carcinoma (35 found as incidentalomas), and 19 follicular carcinoma (3 incidentalomas). Cytology suggestive of papillary carcinoma was correct in 95.2% of cases (119/125). The 135 tumors termed “follicular neoplasm” were staged on pathology thus: 56 adenoma (41.4%), 26 carcinoma (19.2%), 13 (9.6%) absence of follicular proliferation, 38 (28.1%) papillary follicular variant, 2 (1.4%) undifferentiated cells. Medullary carcinomas were both confirmed. The “suspicious group” exhibited no malignancy on fine needle aspiration cytology (12 of 21; 57%). Conclusions: Cytology has good reliability in malignant lesions. Incidental tumors occurring in benign disease have little impact on clinical and surgical management; “follicular neoplasm” posed two problems — the impossibility of identifying the nature of the tumor, as well as the newer difficulty in distinguishing papillary follicular subtype.


FNAC PTC thyroid carcinoma thyroidectomy thyroid nodule 


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Del Rio
    • 1
  • R. Minelli
    • 2
  • S. Cataldo
    • 2
  • G. Ceresini
    • 3
  • G. Robuschi
    • 2
  • L. Corcione
    • 4
  • A. Guazzi
    • 5
  • R. Nizzoli
    • 5
  • M. Sianesi
    • 1
  1. 1.Unit of General Surgery and Organ Transplantation, Department of Surgical ScienceUniversity Hospital of ParmaItalyParma
  2. 2.Unit of EndocrinologyUniversity Hospital of ParmaItalyParma
  3. 3.Unit of Endocrinology, GeriatryUniversity Hospital of ParmaItalyParma
  4. 4.Unit of PathologyUniversity Hospital of ParmaItalyParma
  5. 5.Unit of OncologyUniversity Hospital of ParmaItalyParma
  6. 6.Department of Surgical ScienceUniversity Hospital of ParmaParmaItaly

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