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Endocr J. 1994 Jun;41(3):243-7.

Test performances of three diagnostic procedures in evaluating thyroid nodules: physical examination, ultrasonography and fine needle aspiration cytology.

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Department of Endocrine Surgery, Tokyo Women's Medical College, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Endocr J 1995 Aug;42(4):following 586.


A retrospective study was performed to determine the reliability of physical examination (PE), ultrasonography (US) and fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNA) in the evaluation of thyroid nodules. Preoperative diagnoses of 252 euthyroid patients comprised 126 with benign lesions, 114 with papillary carcinoma and 12 with follicular carcinoma made by PE, US and FNA were reviewed. The specificity of PE, US and FNA for malignancy was 98%, 90% and 98%, respectively. The sensitivity of PE, US and FNA for malignancy was 63%, 78% and 80%. The sensitivity for papillary carcinoma of the three procedures was 68%, 83%, 88%, whereas that for follicular carcinoma was 25%, 25%, 8%, respectively. When all the test results were negative, the likelihood ratio favoring papillary carcinoma was 0.008 whereas that favoring follicular carcinoma was 0.6. The histological category of carcinoma should be considered when evaluating diagnostic procedures for thyroid nodules. No negative test result is conclusive for ruling out the possibility of follicular carcinoma.

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