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Adequacy and Diagnostic Accuracy of Aspiration vs. Capillary Fine Needle Thyroid Biopsies

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Thyroid nodules can be biopsied by fine needle aspiration (FNA) or fine needle capillary (FNC) biopsies. However, there is controversy on whether one technique is superior to another. In a randomized cytopathologist-blinded cross-sectional study, 260 patients (238 females, age 43.2 ± 12.6) with nodular (82.7%) and diffuse goiter (17.3%) underwent 520 FNAs and 520 FNCs (not guided by ultrasound). Smears were scored for sample adequacy, and diagnosed as malignant, benign, suspicious, or nondiagnostic. Diagnostic accuracy was calculated based on the histological findings of 58 patients submitted to surgery. Intra-technique diagnostic accuracy and sample adequacy was seen in all samples. FNA and FNC provided similar cytological diagnosis, respectively (benign: 75.8% vs. 74.2%, p = 0.600; malignant: 3.8% vs. 3.8%, p = 0.871; suspicious: 10.4% vs. 10.8%, p = 0.913; and nondiagnostic: 10.0% vs. 11.2%, p = 0.598). Adequacy scores were similar by FNA (7.94 ± 2.84) and FNC (7.96 ± 2.81, p = 0.909). The same proportion of adequate or superior samples was seen in both techniques (91.6%). Sensitivity was equal to 85.7% for FNA and 100% for FNC. Similarly, specificity was 100% for both techniques. FNA and FNC provide the similar sample adequacy and diagnostic accuracy. The choice of technique should be based on the operator’s personal preferences and experience.

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Correspondence to Gisah Amaral de Carvalho.

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de Carvalho, G.A., Paz-Filho, G., Cavalcanti, T.C. et al. Adequacy and Diagnostic Accuracy of Aspiration vs. Capillary Fine Needle Thyroid Biopsies. Endocr Pathol 20, 204–208 (2009).

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