The Sensitivity and Specificity of Fine-Needle Aspiration in Thyroid Neoplasia

Rareș Georgescu 1 , Adela Luciana Oprea 2 , Alexandra Contra 1 , Orsolya Bauer Hanko 1 , Ioana Colcer 1 , and Marius Florin Coroș 1
  • 1 Department of Surgery, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Tîrgu Mureș, Romania
  • 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Tîrgu Mureș, Romania


Objective: To evaluate and demonstrate the accuracy of fine-needle aspiration (FNA) in thyroid lesions in our department and to highlight probable causes of errors leading to unsatisfactory sampling, which may depend on the characteristics of the nodule.

Methods: This is a retrospective study conducted on 319 diagnosed cases of thyroid nodules referred to the Surgery Unit of Puls hospital, Tîrgu Mureș in the January 2014 – December 2015 period, who underwent fine-needle aspiration. Histological examination was considered to be the gold standard; therefore we compared the cytological diagnosis with the histological one.

Results: Of the 319 cases, 289 (90.6%) were female and 30 (9.4%) male patients; 210 cases (69.3%) were interpreted as benign, 46 cases (15.2%) as follicular lesion of undetermined significance, 4 cases (1.3%) as suspect for malignancy, 1 case (0.3%) as malignant sampling, and 42 cases (13.9%) as unsatisfactory. We compared the results of fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) with the corresponding histopathological results (49 in total). FNAC achieved a sensitivity of 76.47%, a specificity of 83.1%, a positive predictive value of 35.1%, a negative predictive value of 96.7%, a false positive rate of 16.9%, a false negative rate of 23%, and an overall accuracy of 82.3%.

Conclusions: The results of our study demonstrate the accuracy of the FNA technique in the first-line diagnosis of thyroid nodules.

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