Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Surg Oncol. 2011 May;18(5):1300-5. doi: 10.1245/s10434-010-1452-y. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

Elastic light-scattering spectroscopy for discrimination of benign from malignant disease in thyroid nodules.

Author information

Department of Surgery, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.



Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy. The current standard of diagnosis, fine-needle aspiration biopsy, yields approximately 10-25% of indeterminate results leading to twice as many thyroidectomies for further diagnosis. Elastic scattering spectroscopy (ESS) is a new, minimally invasive optical-biopsy technique mediated by fiber-optic probes that is sensitive to cellular and subcellular morphological features. We assessed the diagnostic potential of ESS in the thyroid to differentiate benign from malignant thyroid nodules as determined by histology.


Under an IRB approved protocol, 36 surgical patients (n = 21 benign thyroid nodules, n = 15 malignant tumors) had collection of ESS data from their fresh ex vivo thyroidectomy specimens. Using surgical pathology as our gold standard, spectral analyses were performed using a training set; these data were used to assess the ESS diagnostic potential using the leave-one-out technique.


Our test set was 75% sensitive and 95% specific in differentiating benign from malignant thyroid lesions, with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.92 and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 0.83.


The ESS can accurately distinguish benign vs malignant thyroid lesions with high PPV and NPV. With further validation ESS could potentially be used as an in situ real-time diagnostic tool or as an adjunct to conventional cytology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center