Correlation between Histological Diagnosis and Mutational Panel Testing of Thyroid Nodules: A Two-Year Institutional Experience

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Indeterminate thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology, including atypia of undetermined significance (AUS/FLUS) and suspicious for follicular neoplasm (SFN), continues to generate uncertainty about the presence of malignancy, resulting in repeated follow-up, repeat FNA, or diagnostic surgery. Mutational panel testing may improve the malignancy risk prediction in indeterminate nodules, but the general application of such testing has not been investigated extensively. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all patients undergoing thyroidectomy at a tertiary care facility over a two-year period. Mutational panel test results, when present, were analyzed relative to FNA cytologic result and surgical histopathologic diagnosis. Malignancy rates, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values (PPV), negative predictive values (NPV) and positive and negative likelihood ratios (LR) were calculated. Results: A total of 261 operated thyroid nodules had the following initial FNA cytology results: 2% non-diagnostic, 23% benign, 28% AUS/FLUS, 11% SFN, 9% suspicious for malignancy (SUSP), and 27% malignant. The histopathologic malignancy rate was 48%, subcategorized by cytology into benign 7%, AUS/FLUS 30%, SFN 38%, and SUSP 83%. Mutations were more frequent in indeterminate nodules that were histologically malignant versus benign (p < 0.0001) or versus adenoma (p = 0.001). Mutational analysis in 44 AUS/FLUS nodules resulted in a malignancy detection sensitivity of 85%, a specificity of 65%, a PPV of 50%, a NPV of 91%, and a positive LR of 2.4. In 12 SFN nodules analyzed with ThyroSeq® testing, sensitivity was 100%, specificity 57%, PPV 63%, NPV 100%, and LR 2.3. Performance of the seven-gene mutational panel was not significantly different from the ThyroSeq® panel in the AUS/FLUS group. The malignancy yield, comparing the mutation positive AUS/FLUS group with the untested AUS/FLUS surgical cohort, did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.17). Conclusions: In a surgical cohort, a similar NPV but a lower PPV was found with the use of mutational panel testing compared to the published literature. Following the identification of a mutation, the prevalence of malignancy in the AUS/FLUS or SFN category was increased by nearly 15% to 45% and 53%, respectively. Further study is needed to confirm these results and to analyze clinical outcome subcategories relative to the utility of mutational testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1068-1076
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Correlation between Histological Diagnosis and Mutational Panel Testing of Thyroid Nodules: A Two-Year Institutional Experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this