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Pathologe. 2012 Jul;33(4):324-30. doi: 10.1007/s00292-012-1575-y.

[Bethesda classification of fine needle punctures of the thyroid. Much ado about nothing really new?].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Funktionsbereich Zytopathologie, Institut für Pathologie, Universitätsklinikum Gießen-Marburg, Langhansstr. 10, 35385, Gießen, Deutschland.


The Bethesda system for reporting thyroid cytopathology was published in 2008 (Baloch et al. 2008, Cytojournal 5:6; Baloch et al. 2008, Diagn Cytopathol 36:425-437) offering a classification system which is closely related to clinical data. The aim was to ensure adequate terminology without risk of errors in understanding, to advise clinicians concerning therapeutic options in relationship to cytological diagnoses as well as to facilitate the comparison of cytology data at national and international levels. However, mainly due to specific US American (both medical and legal) demands, this classification system is not yet fully appreciated in most European countries. The reasons are various: (a) Criteria for representative material are much more restrictive than those commonly used and in Germany a higher number of (unnecessary) repunctures would be the consequence. (b) It remains doubtful whether the introduction of a new and rather heterogeneous category of "atypia of undetermined significance or follicular lesion of undetermined significance" would contribute to a substantial decrease of findings classified as "follicular neoplasia". Furthermore it is unlikely that clinicians would be willing to accept the recommended conservative approach with repuncture if a new diagnostic category is associated with a calculated risk of malignancy in 5-15% cases. (c) Until now an integration of new developments in molecular markers into the Bethesda system is missing. Thus, for experienced cytologists the Bethesda system for reporting thyroid cytopathology offers very limited benefits in comparison to the currently used, established and highly accepted classification systems. However, a positive argument remains the fact that an internationally accepted classification system may improve the comparability of the results of national and international studies on thyroid findings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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