Endocrine Abstracts (2006) 11 P787

Epidemiologic analysis of thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsies over a period of 18 years (1987-2004)

S Polyzos1, M Kita1, DG Goulis1, A Benos2, N Flaris3, M Leontsini3 & A Avramides1


1Department of Endocrinology, ‘Hippocration’ General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece; 2Laboratory of Hygiene, Medical School, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece; 3Laboratory of Pathology, ‘Hippocration’ General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.


Introduction: Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNA) is a method widely used in the assessment of thyroid nodules. The main aim of this 18-year retrospective study was the investigation of the diagnostic value of FNA in the approach of thyroid malignancy.

Subjects and methods: patients underwent 1938 FNAs from 1987 to 2004 in the Department of Endocrinology, ‘Hippocration’ General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece. 178 of these patients subsequently underwent total or subtotal thyroid resection and a pathology report was available.

Results: Pathology reports are the ‘gold standard’ for the diagnosis of thyroid malignancy. FNA shows a sensitivity of 76.2% and a specificity of 90.5%, with a significant degree of agreement between the two methods (Cohen’s method, P<0.05). There was a considerable improvement in the diagnostic value of FNA during the sub-period 1996–2004 as compared to the sub-period 1987–1995, probably due to increased experience of the persons performing and interpreting the FNA.

Conclusions: (1) FNA is a reliable diagnostic method in the initial assessment of thyroid malignancy, (2) a non-diagnostic FNA should always be repeated, (3) even after a cytological diagnosis of benign hyperplasia, meticulous follow-up is necessary and (4) increased experience of the persons performing or interpreting the FNA leads in improvement in the diagnostic value of FNA in the approach of thyroid malignancy.

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