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Summit on Translat Bioinforma. 2009 Mar 1;2009:68-72.

A Controlled Vocabulary to Represent Sonographic Features of the Thyroid and its application in a Bayesian Network to Predict Thyroid Nodule Malignancy.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA;


It is challenging to distinguish benign from malignant thyroid nodules on high resolution ultrasound. Many ultrasound features have been studied individually as predictors for thyroid malignancy, none with a high degree of accuracy, and there is no consistent vocabulary used to describe the features. Our hypothesis is that a standard vocabulary will advance accuracy. We performed a systemic literature review and identified all the sonographic features that have been well studied in thyroid cancers. We built a controlled vocabulary for describing sonographic features and to enable us to unify data in the literature on the predictive power of each feature. We used this terminology to build a Bayesian network to predict thyroid malignancy. Our Bayesian network performed similar to or slightly better than experienced radiologists. Controlled terminology for describing thyroid radiology findings could be useful to characterize thyroid nodules and could enable decision support applications.

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