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Surgery. 2001 Dec;130(6):941-6.

Risk of malignancy in thyroid incidentalomas identified by fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography.

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1
Department of Surgery, the Siteman Cancer Center, and the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Thyroid tumors often exhibit increased metabolic activity, as evidenced by enhanced glucose uptake on positron emission tomography (PET) with use of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). The incidence of new thyroid lesions found on routine FDG-PET has not been previously reported.

METHODS:

A retrospective review of all patients who underwent FDG-PET imaging at our institution from June 1, 1996, through March 15, 2001, identified patients with a newly diagnosed thyroid lesion. Thyroid incidentaloma was defined as a thyroid lesion seen initially on FDG-PET in a patient without a history of thyroid disease. Available follow-up data were documented.

RESULTS:

One hundred and two of 4525 FDG-PET examinations (2.3%) demonstrated thyroid incidentalomas. Eighty-seven of 102 patients had no thyroid histology because of other malignancies. Fifteen patients had thyroid biopsy: 7 (47%) with thyroid cancer, 6 (40%) with nodular hyperplasia, 1 with thyroiditis, and 1 with atypical cells of indeterminate origin. The average standardized uptake values were higher for malignant compared with benign lesions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Thyroid incidentaloma identified by FDG-PET occurred with a frequency of 2.3%. Of the thyroid incidentalomas that underwent biopsy, 47% were found to be malignant. Given the risk of malignancy, patients with new thyroid lesions on PET scan should have a tissue diagnosis if it will influence outcome and management. Standardized uptake values may be helpful in predicting benign versus malignant histology.

PMID:
11742321
DOI:
10.1067/msy.2001.118265
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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