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Cytojournal. 2017 Apr 28;14:10. doi: 10.4103/1742-6413.205313. eCollection 2017.

Cytomorphologic features distinguishing Bethesda category IV thyroid lesions from parathyroid.

Author information

1
Address: Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.
2
Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Thyroid follicular cells share similar cytomorphological features with parathyroid. Without a clinical suspicion, the distinction between a thyroid neoplasm and an intrathyroidal parathyroid can be challenging. The aim of this study was to assess the distinguishing cytomorphological features of parathyroid (including intrathyroidal) and Bethesda category IV (Beth-IV) thyroid follicular lesions, which carry a 15%-30% risk of malignancy and are often followed up with surgical resection.

METHODS:

A search was performed to identify "parathyroid" diagnoses in parathyroid/thyroid-designated fine-needle aspirations (FNAs) and Beth-IV thyroid FNAs (follicular and Hurthle cell), all with diagnostic confirmation through surgical pathology, immunocytochemical stains, Afirma® analysis, and/or clinical correlation. Unique cytomorphologic features were scored (0-3) or noted as present versus absent. Statistical analysis was performed using R 3.3.1 software.

RESULTS:

We identified five FNA cases with clinical suspicion of parathyroid neoplasm, hyperthyroidism, or thyroid lesion that had an eventual final diagnosis of the parathyroid lesion (all female; age 20-69 years) and 12 Beth-IV diagnoses (11 female, 1 male; age 13-64 years). The following cytomorphologic features are useful distinguishing features (P value): overall pattern (0.001), single cells (0.001), cell size compared to red blood cell (0.01), nuclear irregularity (0.001), presence of nucleoli (0.001), nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratio (0.007), and nuclear chromatin quality (0.028).

CONCLUSIONS:

There are cytomorphologic features that distinguish Beth-IV thyroid lesions and (intrathyroidal) parathyroid. These features can aid in rendering correct diagnoses and appropriate management.

KEYWORDS:

Bethesda category IV; cytology; fine-needle aspiration; parathyroid; thyroid

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