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Korean J Pathol. 2013 Oct;47(5):466-71. doi: 10.4132/KoreanJPathol.2013.47.5.466. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Fine needle aspiration cytology of parathyroid lesions.

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Department of Pathology, Korea Cancer Center Hospital, Seoul, Korea.



There has been an increase in the use of fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) for the diagnosis of parathyroid lesions (PLs). Differentiation between a thyroid lesion and a PL is not easy because of their similar features. We reviewed parathyroid aspirates in our institution and aimed to uncover trends in diagnostic criteria.


We selected 25 parathyroid aspirates (from 6 men and 19 women) confirmed surgically or immunohistochemically from 2006 to 2011.


Major architectural findings of PLs include scattered naked nuclei, loose clusters, a papillary pattern with a fibrovascular core, tight clusters, and a follicular pattern. These architectures were commonly admixed with one another. Cytological features included anisokaryosis, stippled chromatin, a well-defined cell border, and oxyphilic cytoplasm. Eighteen of the 25 patients were diagnosed with PL using FNAC. Seven patients had been misdiagnosed with atypical cells (n=2), benign follicular cells (n=2), adenomatous goiter (n=2) and metastatic carcinoma (n=1) in FNAC. Using clinicoradiologic data, the sensitivity of the cytological diagnosis was 86.7%. The cytological sensitivity decreased to 50% without this information.


FNAC of PL is easily confused with thyroid lesions. A combination of cytological parameters and clinical data will be required to improve the diagnostic sensitivity of PLs.


Biopsy, fine-needle; Cytology; Parathyroid lesions

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