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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013 Jan;137(1):26-31. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2012-0009-CP.

Performance differences between conventional smears and liquid-based preparations of thyroid fine-needle aspiration samples: analysis of 47,076 responses in the College of American Pathologists Interlaboratory Comparison Program in Non-Gynecologic Cytology.

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  • 1Department of Cytopathology, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, MA 01605, USA. Fischa01@ummhc.org

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Controversy exists about whether thyroid fine-needle aspirates (FNAs) should be processed with conventional smears or liquid-based preparations (LBPs).

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the performance of conventional smears to LBPs for thyroid FNA slides circulated in the College of American Pathologists Interlaboratory Comparison Program in Non-Gynecologic Cytology.

DESIGN:

Participant responses for thyroid FNA slides were compared with the reference diagnosis at the level of 3 general diagnostic categories: negative, suspicious (which included only follicular and Hürthle cell neoplasm), and malignant. For specific reference diagnoses of benign/goiter and papillary thyroid carcinoma, the participants' specific diagnoses were analyzed and poorly performing slides were rereviewed.

RESULTS:

The 47, 076 thyroid FNA slide responses, between 2001 and 2009, included 44, 478 responses (94%) for conventional smears and 2598 responses (6%) for LBPs. For the general reference category negative, participant responses were discrepant in 14.9% of conventional smears compared with 5.9% for LBPs (P < .001). The specific reference diagnosis of benign/goiter was misdiagnosed as a follicular neoplasm in 7.8% of conventional smears, compared with 1.3% of LBP. For the general reference category of malignant, participant responses were discrepant in 7.3% of conventional smears compared with 14.7% of LBPs (P < .001). The specific reference diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma was misdiagnosed as benign/goiter in 7.2% of LBPs, compared with 4.8% of conventional smears (p <.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

LBPs performed worse than conventional smears for cases with a reference diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma. However, LBPs performed better than conventional smears for cases with a benign reference diagnosis. Specific features in thyroid FNAs that may improve the diagnostic accuracy of LBPs and conventional smears are described.

PMID:
23276172
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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