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Diagnostic value of antithyroid peroxidase antibody for incidental autoimmune thyroiditis based on histopathologic results

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Detection of antithyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) is widely used in the diagnosis of autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT), but no research has evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of TPOAb detection using histopathologic reference standards. To fill this research gap, this study assessed the diagnostic accuracy of detection of TPOAb and that of other serological markers in asymptomatic patients who had been diagnosed with AIT by histopathologic analysis after thyroid surgery. After review of patient records, 598 patients who had undergone thyroid nodule surgery were enrolled for examination for thyroid parenchyma by a pathologist and classification into no co-existing lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto thyroiditis, or non-Hashimoto type of lymphocytic thyroiditis (NHLT). The correlation between patient serological data and thyroid parenchyma pathology was analyzed. Statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) were found between co-existing lymphocytic thyroiditis and no co-existing lymphocytic thyroiditis groups regarding thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and TPOAb levels. And, TPOAb titer was significantly associated with the degree of inflammation. An abnormal TPOAb titer was found in 86 of the 598 patients (14.4 %) and the specificity of TPOAb detection for AIT diagnosis was found to be 96.9 %. The prevalence of Hashimoto thyroiditis and NHLT in the 560 papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) patients was found to be 7.9 and 17.9 %, respectively. The results indicate that TPOAb titer is associated with the degree of thyroid inflammation and that detection of TPOAb is a very specific means of diagnosing AIT. The results also indicate that the incidence of AIT and PTC coexistence is relatively high.

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Correspondence to Dong Wook Kim.

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Rho, M.H., Kim, D.W., Hong, H.P. et al. Diagnostic value of antithyroid peroxidase antibody for incidental autoimmune thyroiditis based on histopathologic results. Endocrine 42, 647–652 (2012).

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