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Acta Cytol. 1990 Mar-Apr;34(2):251-6.

Fine needle aspiration cytology of thyroid gland diseases.

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Institute of Pathology, University of Ferrara, Italy.


From 1982 to 1987, 2,433 lesions of the thyroid gland in 1,796 patients were examined by fine needle aspiration (FNA). Cytopathology classified 66.91% of the aspirates as benign, 10.76% as thyroiditis, 4.89% as suspected (unspecified) neoplasia, 1.31% as positive for malignancy and 16.11% (392) as unsatisfactory. The histologic diagnoses in 257 cases were compared with cytologic diagnoses to determine the accuracy of FNA cytology of thyroid lesions, yielding a sensitivity of 71.43%, a specificity of 100% and an accuracy of 95.09%. This data strongly supports thyroid FNA as an important preoperative diagnostic tool. Follicular carcinomas were difficult to cytologically differentiate from nonmalignant follicular neoplasms, and papillary thyroid carcinomas less than 2 cm in diameter in elderly patients were frequently misdiagnosed or diagnosed only as "suspect lesion."

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